Another worker died on Thursday at GPH Ispat, a steel manufacturing factory where seven workers have died in various accidents over the last six years.
The worker, Ranjit Das, 30, died in a gas cylinder explosion at 12:20pm at the factory in Sultana Mandir of Sitakunda upazila in Chattogram.
The gas cylinder exploded while scrap iron was being cut in the factory, shattering the body of Ranjit who was standing nearby. He died on the spot.
His severed body was recovered from the factory and taken to Chattogram Medical College and Hospital morgue for autopsy, said Abdullah Al Sakib, deputy inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), Chattogram.
He said, "Our inspector has already visited the spot. I will visit the factory on Friday. GPH Steel will be served a show cause notice for the accident."
In the last six years, 13 accidents occurred at the factory, killing eight workers and injuring 33 workers critically.
Earlier, the DIFE, an autonomous government agency under the labour ministry responsible for health and safety inspection in factories, served repeated notices to GPH Ispat after previous accidents, instructing to rectify various defects to ensure the safety of workers, but in vain. Accidents and deaths continued at the steel manufacturing factory while the administration there ignored the DIFE instructions and failed to comply with safety guidelines.
The DIFE even filed a criminal lawsuit with the labor court against top officials at the factory. But even after being convicted in trial, the GPH authorities continued in negligence of duty, alleged sources.
Almas Shimul, additional managing director of GPH Steel, told The Business Standard on Thursday afternoon that he had heard about the death of a worker at the factory. "I will inform you of the details later," he said.
GPH does not pay heed to Labour Court
Earlier, on 10 April, 2019, a worker, Ranjit Chandra Barman, died after falling under an iron sheet while loading sheets at the GPH factory. Another worker, Pulak Sen, died in another accident the next day.
Palash Chandra Bose, then labour inspector (safety) of the DIFE, filed a criminal case with the First Labour Court of Chattogram on 27 May, 2019, for the death of the two workers. GPH Ispat's Managing Director, Md Jahangir Alam, Director Almas Shimul, Senior Deputy General Manager ABM Shahidul Alam Al Masud, and the factory's contractor, Atiar Rahman Atique, were accused in the case.
According to the case statement, while inspecting the factory, the DIFE found evidence of violations of several sections of labour law, in the accidents in which the two workers were killed. These were: unlicensed, contract supply workers to GPH Ispat; workers not provided with appointment letters and photo identity cards; lifts, scales, and excavator cranes in the factory operated by untrained and incompetent drivers; machines not inspected at least once a year; safety committee not formed as per rules for a safe working environment; and workers engaged in risky jobs without the required rest every two hours.
The Labour Court convicted the four accused in the case under section 307 of the labor law, and each was fined only Tk500.
According to multiple DIFE reports, safety measures for workers at GPH Ispat are not in compliance with labour law. As a result, workers lost their lives in one accident after another.