Safety First Project

The aim of this project is to strengthen safe management of ship recycling facilities in Chittagong, and improve worker’s health and safety issues.

Meeting with the workers:

YPSA organized 40 formal meetings in last year with the workers in their accommodation and also in a centre prepared for the workers. The last several meeting were organised with some information on the emergency medical treatment support for the injured workers. YPSA has arranged the meetings in some identified areas where workers have demanded to arrange meetings for their information. The Field Officers have organised all the meetings with the prescribed messages on the occupational health and safety. The field officers has gained information from the local government health officer on the issue. The workers were very much responsive on the discussion. These sort of regular meetings are required to be in touch with the workers.

Campaign events such as demonstrations:

YPSA has organized twelve campaign events like-boat rally, cycle rally, voice raising event, folk songs, safety awareness based video show with projector and boat trip with safety messages etc. in the shipbreaking area where the local community and the workers were participated. Around thousand number of workers and community members have participated in the events. These were organised with banners and colourful festoons with the messages of worker’s rights like ensuring safety, increasing compensation, providing training and environmental concerns. Accidents were repeatedly happening in the yard in last years which has affected the project’s strategies to implement the activities. Several demonstrations were organised to raise of the issue of unsafe condition in the yards and ensuring proper investigation and taking correct measurement. In some event, YPSA-Safety First project, Md. Ali Shahin also spoke for the workers on continuous violation of the rights of the workers in the yards. Such campaign events help the workers for their problems to be shared with the community and the yard authorities.

Health Camp: 

There have been twelve health camps arranged by the Safety first project for the shipbreaking workers and its became familiar with the worker’s communities. This health service is adding great value for the workers and the trust on the project activities and the centre is getting higher. The workers are having different types of occupational hazard like chest pain, eye infection, long time fever, Skin disease, burns, broken etc. The workers are very happy with the service from the health camp. It’s observed that the demand for a highly qualified doctor is essential for these workers and a number of 205 patients have taken medical prescription from the doctor of the safety first centre.


YPSA’s center for the workers:

YPSA has already opened up a center and kept inviting the workers for providing necessary advice and support in case of accidents and claiming the compensation for now. The center is set up at the major shipbreaking concentrated area which is called Barwalia which is a very busy area and also a junction on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.  YPSA is trying to attract the workers to visit the center regularly and motivate them on the issue of raising their voice in line with the labour law. They are learning about the common safety measures and also the basics of the labour laws to protect their rights. The centre is well-equipped with ICT, electronics, law books, awareness posters, banners etc. which are helping the workers to gain some primary knowledge about their needs and rights. The centre became well-known to the common workers of the shipbreakig workers. The centre is successful to expose an image of a place which can provide information, necessary support and also entertainment to the workers.

Information on Accidents and the yards:

YPSA continuous to collect, analyse and disseminate the information of shipbreaking. YPSA has created a network of sources in different ship yards to have the information of any accidents. YPSA always receive the information of accidents but it takes time before dissemination of the information as YPSA verifies the information from the field by communicating with different other sources to be sure all the related information of the accidents like victims’ permanent address, name of the employers, causes or the reason of the accident name, the ship involved, any contract between the victim’s  family and the yard authorities, compensation to be paid to labour court or not, information from the hospital and once YPSA has all the confirmed primary information then it goes to inform the media and the concerned government departments to take necessary action on the issue and also informed others partners and organisations.

ToT on the safety for the workers:

YPSA organised a number of 8 training for trainers in different shipbreaking yards on the occupational health and safety. . An NGO never did a training inside the ship recycling yard with the permission of the owners, YPSA emphasized that the yard should to continue it operation and also asked the owner to communicate with YPSA if they need any further training for their workers.

Besides, there were workers and all other concerned stakeholders, in events of YPSA, from different part of the society have also gotten an opportunity to raise their demands claiming safety and compliance in different shipbreaking yards. Speakers at the event strongly criticized the owners of ship-breaking yards for their inhuman treatment and depriving the poor workers in paying overtime allowance, leave and public holidays and other basic facilities. Speakers said the practice of shipbreaking should be upgraded in accordance with the international standard and legal instruments including the high court orders. It’s recommended that there should be a common understanding between the workers and the owners which will lead to an advantage for both parties.

YPSA is continuing to do advocacy meetings with the concerned government departments and agencies for the improvement of the yard’s working condition. YPSA also helps international media to explore this issue to the international level sothat the ships which are coming to Bangladesh for breaking can have no effect on the environment and human health. YPSA helps the workers to get their compensation and support from the worker’s welfare fund. YPSA also does regular fact finding and survey to explore different existing problems related with the shipbreaking like child labour in the yards, environment impact, worker’s condition etc.