Ensuring safety at construction sites

Dhaka,  Mon,  25 September 2017
Published : 18 Mar 2017, 21:18:43
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LETTER

Ensuring safety at construction sites

The perilous nature of construction works has brought Dhaka city's existing hazards like pollution and traffic jams to the fore. On Monday last, a pedestrian was killed when a girder fell from a crane at the ongoing flyover construction site at Malibagh. Ironically, two employees of the company building the flyover were also injured. A similar accident took place at Chittagong's Bahaddarhat in 2012.  

Most contractors involved in the public works have a tendency to ignore safety measures. In most cases, they seem to be either unaware of existing codes or simply ignore them. Experts allege that private contractors of public infrastructures do not comply with the rules because the existing laws are not enforced. In addition, agencies implementing the projects are also responsible for not compelling the contractors to follow safety rules as part of their job.

Moreover, no work was supposed to be carried out on a holiday, if not at night. The work was continued without prior authorisation. Evidently, the supervising agencies evaded their responsibility and a life was lost due to their negligence of safety rules. Lack of supervision is often responsible for fatal accidents as felt by the stakeholders of urban infrastructures.  

Such accidents would not have happened if contractors were forced to guarantee safety instructions. Bigger urban projects normally have a health and security manual ensuring safety of both workers and environment. The government along with its regulatory bodies should keep safety records and enforce critical instructions regularly. Projects with loopholes should be under rigorous evaluation. In this case, no appropriate precaution was followed. The contractors even failed to put up a cautionary sign under the flyover during construction. Furthermore, not a single worker was wearing any helmet, safety shoe, or belt in order to protect his own life from potential disasters.

Ali Reza Safawi

Mohammadpur, Dhaka

 
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