ILO statement on BM Container Depot incident

Press release | 06 June 2022
DHAKA (ILO News) –The ILO is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life of at least 49 people including nine fire services professionals from a fire and explosion at BM Container Depot in southeastern Bangladesh on 4 June 2022. We extend our heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the families of the injured and deceased.

This incident illustrates the urgent need to ensure proper handling and storage of chemicals, proper training for storage facility staff at awareness and operational levels, and effective crowd control during an emergency incident. Additionally, the incident underscores the need for an effective industrial and enterprise safety framework and enforcement and training system to ensure a structured approach to mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery to all hazards. This will require improved collaboration and partnership between government departments, employers and workers representatives, and civil society.

Tackling this problem calls for action in a number of areas. These include a review of regulations and enforcement in the transport and logistics sector, the payment of adequate compensation and income support to injured and disabled workers and families of workers who lost lives in work-related accidents, and to conduct safety campaigns that target transport/logistic service providers as well as emergency-service personnel.

Recently the government, employer and worker representatives have agreed to roll out a modern, comprehensive Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) in Bangladesh starting from the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, with the possibility of extension to other sectors. Such a system includes accident prevention, immediate and long-term compensation, and rehabilitation to return to work.

The ILO continues to work closely with the Government of Bangladesh, employers’ and workers’ organisations and development partners to improve working conditions in all industries expanding learning from the ready-made garment RMG industry since the Rana Plaza tragedy in April 2013.

Proper monitoring of industries by government to ensure that industrial and accidental risks are properly understood, addressed and prevented is essential to improving safe working conditions in Bangladesh.

ILO and the broader UN system in Bangladesh hopes that this tragic accident will drive all parties involved to apply renewed vigour in addressing the safety deficits in workplaces across the country and we extend our assistance to continue to build safer Bangladesh for all.