Working conditions

ILO Statement on the explosions at Seema Oxygen Plant in Chittagong's Sitakunda upazila and the Science Lab area in Dhaka

ILO expresses condolences and solidarity with families of the victims of two incidents in Bangladesh.

News | Dhaka | 05 March 2023
The ILO is deeply saddened by the Seema Oxygen Plant explosion in Chittagong's Sitakunda upazila on 4 March 2023 and the explosion on Science Lab crossing on Mirpur Road in Dhaka on 5 March 2023 that resulted in deaths and numerous injuries. We extend our heartfelt condolences and solidarity with families of the victims.

As with the BM Depot explosion on 4 June 2022, this incident further confirms the need to make improvements in fire and chemical safety. Fire safety management plans, safe handling and storage of chemicals, necessary policies, and systems in place to ensure all workers receive basic training on fire and chemical hazards is essential.

Also, familiarization of managers and safety committees with hazard classifications, and how to incorporate hazard specific preventative measures into the establishment’s safety management system are important measures to mitigate risks.

Adequate compensation and income support to the injured and disabled, and families of workers who lost their lives during an accident is necessary and should be remembered.

Residences and communities are also at risk. To ensure a culture of safety is ingrained in all sectors of the economy and society, there must be strong commitments and concerted efforts towards preparedness and prevention that is sustained. This can be achieved through strategic partnerships between key actors.

Collaboration and partnership between government departments, employers and workers representatives, and civil society is essential to ensure strong commitment in policy and practice. A national framework is needed to confirm commitments and outline necessary actions to reduce the likelihood of such incidences in the future and to ensure adequate compensation is provided to the injured and families of the deceased.

The ILO work closely with the Government of Bangladesh, employers’ and worker’ organisations and development partners to improve working conditions and to modernize compensation systems for workplace accident victims.

We hope that this tragic accident will serve as a sober reminder, to all parties involved, of the urgency needed in addressing safety issues in all workplaces across the country.