03 June 2014

Working Without Safety Gears: Ship-breaking worker killed

A worker died falling from a ship at a shipbreaking yard in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong on Sunday night.

Md Mohiuddin, 22, of Moheshkhali upazila of Cox's Bazar, was inexperienced and was not wearing helmet at the time of the accident, fellow workers said. 

His brother Mohammed Mamun said he was informed at 6:00pm on Sunday that Mohiuddin had fallen from a ship at SH Enterprise.

Mohiuddin, who was residing at Alamgir Colony in Kadam Rasul area of Sitakunda upazila, worked as a cutting helper at the ship-breaking yard.

He fell on a steel plate while working on the ship, MV Rachar Express, said Aminul Islam, inspector (investigation) of Sitakunda Police Station.

After the fall, he was rushed to a private hospital in the port city. As his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to another private hospital, Surgiscope Hospital Ltd, where he succumbed to his injuries around 10:45pm on the day.

Kamal Uddin, owner and director of SH enterprise, claimed that Mohiuddin had slipped while getting down the stairs from the ship.

Asked if the victim had safety gears on, he said Mohiuddin had returned his safety gears after finishing work atop the ship, and that he fell while descending.

All 200-250 employees of his shipbreaking yard wear safety gears during work, he added. Contradicting Kamal, Abdur Rahim, secretary of Bangladesh Ship Breaking Workers Association, said Mohiuddin had fallen on the deck losing control while removing a big piece of iron sheet from the scrap ship.

The body was sent to Chittagong Medical College morgue for autopsy yesterday noon. It has marks of deep injuries in the back of the head, morgue sources said.

SH Enterprise is located in Kadam Rasul area and close to another yard called Aafin Enterprise where four workers died on April 3 inhaling toxic gas after the explosion of a carbon dioxide cylinder. Both the yards belong to Kamal Uddin and his brother.  

The Supreme Court in 2010 directed the government to ensure workers' safety at ship-breaking yards, which has largely gone unheeded.

Source: the daily star. 3 June 2014

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