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Executive Summary

The prime point of discussion in this report is the security of labor workers in two of the most hazardous industries in Bangladesh, leather processing and construction industry. The harsh reality of insufficient wage, hazardous work condition, unstable job security etc. faced by the illiterate labour workers of Bangladesh needs amendment. Although laws are present in an effort to protect workers, the application of these laws is scarce according to various newspaper conducted research (Hossain, 2006). The Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 (along with amendments in 2008 & 2010) is latest law passed by the parliament regarding labour code and henceforth it has been used as the basis for analysis and research in this research paper (Paul, 2007). Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 is a consolidated showing of a previously scattered and confusing set of labour laws. One of its purposes is to provide students of law and legal practitioners a simpler understanding of the workers rights so that laborer does receive better representation. Therefore, this report is done with the help of the book The Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 & Other Related Laws by Nirmal Chandra Paul. Two of the most risky jobs are of a construction worker and a leather processor. Construction workers are constantly at the risk of death when working at construction sites. According to David Bergmen of ASIA CALLING (all Asia newspaper), 40% of all reported workplace deaths in Bangladesh are at construction sites. In the last 15 years a growing Dhaka skyline seems to have caused over a hundred deaths. Laws enacted in the Bangladesh labour Code, 2006 aim to eradicate that problem but application of the law is not being monitored. Leather Processing Factories, also known as a tannery, offers one of the most poisonous workplace environments. Without the right protection, workers can seriously harm themselves because of the exposure to different chemicals. In our research we have found there to be truth to this statement. Research states that the chemical exposure causes respiratory problems for many of the tannery workers (Rastogi, 2008).

Throughout this report we will look into the level of protection labour workers in these two industries receive and try to discuss the barriers to achieving proper protection as defined by The Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006. Illiterate labour workers of Bangladesh are so desperate for any sort of income that they disregard their security. It is a case of excess supply of workers whilst a limited demand. Industrialists are taking wrongful advantage of this fact and it is unto the law to protect the labour workers.

1. Introduction This report is done or the Legal Environment of Business (LEB) course. By looking into factories in different industries throughout Bangladesh, we can receive an insight to business and its legal bindings. We are going to discuss security of labor workers in the construction industry and leather processing (tannery) industry in Bangladesh.

1.1 Objective of the study

1.1.1. General objective

The objective of this report is to gain an insight into two different industrial factories of Bangladesh. The construction industry and leather processing industry are two rapidly expanding industry of Bangladesh and in this report we are going to look into the security measures for labour workers in these labour intensive industries. Most of the construction industries work takes place at building sites. Work in the leather processing industry takes place at factories called tannery.

1.1.2. Specific Objective

The safety code of Bangladesh Labour Act is presented within Section 61 to Section 78. A few other laws regarding special provisions regarding safety are given in Section 79 to Section 88. For the purpose of this report, we will not look into ant section in special provision regarding safety except section 86. By solely looking into the safety act, we will try to provide you with a thorough insight into the safety measures required and the safety measures provided in the construction and leather processing industry of Bangladesh.

We are going to look deeply into the following:

i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. x. xi.

Safety of building and machinery Adopting precaution regarding fire Cranes and other lifting machinery Revolving machinery Floors stairs and pathways Excessive weights Protection of eyes Powers to require specifications of defective parts or tests of stability Precaution against dangerous fumes Explosive or inflammable dust, gas .etc Information about dangerous building and machinery

1.2 Scope

To complete this report we have used our data collected from five factories that we have observed and interviewed officials from. For insight into the construction industry we

looked into and interviewed officials of Dom-Inno Builders Ltd and Sanmar Properties Limited. For the leather processing industry, we collected data from Dhaka Tannery, Bay Tannery and Shafique Leather. We also looked into the online profile of these companies to gather various information regarding work sites. Except for Shafique Leather, in all other companies we were given a comprehensive insight. We interviewed management officials for Dom-Inno Builders Ltd, Sanmar Properties Limited, Dhaka Tannery, Bay Tannery. We visited single work sites for Dom-Inno Builders Ltd and Sanmar Properties Limited. We also visited factories of Dhaka Tannery & Bay Tannery placed in Hazaribagh, Dhaka. For Shafique Leather, we just got a brief interview of an employee of Shafique Leather.

1.3 Methodology

1.3.1 Source of Information

Primary Source of Information To gather our data, we visited various factories present within Bangladesh to get a representative amount of information of Bangladeshs state of applying the security code of the labour law. Our method for writing this report is illustrated using the graph below.
Questionnaire development
Questionnaire development
Data Collection

Data analysis

Report writing 4

Secondary Source of Information We also used books from which the laws were found and this information was used to create the questionnaire and analyse our data. Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 & Other Related Laws by Nirmal Chandra Paul was used to create the questionnaire grasp a view on the latest accompiliation of labour law in Bangladesh. Online references were helpful to understand scenarios of presentday Bangladesh.



Our biggest limitation seemed to be access into the tanneries and inability to find out the whole truth from the officials during interviews. While we were trying to gather data, we constantly faced obstacles when we tried to get to the truth. Because of lack o authorization and safety issues, we were not allowed a good enough look into the actual tanneries. Most of the information we got were from our interviews which can be less than truthful.

In the construction sites, we were incapable of looking into a representative number of construction sites since most of Dom- Inno Builders Ltd. and Sanmar Properties Limiteds construction sites were very far apart. Sanmar Properties Limited is based in Chittagong and is one of the most prominent builders in Chittagong. Therefore, our report may not be very representative of Bangladeshs scenario since both the researched companies are one of the best in the business and use state of the art machinery.

The law book used to write this report was published in 2007 with amendments up till 2007 so it is does not include any further amendments hindering us from receiving the latest data to analyze with.

From our perspective, the limitations did not hinder us from getting close to the truth.


Bangladesh Labor Code, 2006

The Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006 (BLA 2006) is the latest and most comprehensive law in place regarding labor, and was enacted in September 2006. It is an extensive and broad law, regulating a number of areas of workplace issues that are divided into several different bodies of law. These include labor law, employment law, and the regulation of health and safety.

The 2006 BLA represents both an achievement and a failure of labor law reform. By and large it is in compliance with many of the fundamental requirements of international labor law and, if enforced, could provide for a robust industrial relations system. At the same time, however, it also has some serious weaknesses that need to be addressed. One of the main problems with the law is the quality of its drafting. A number of contradictions and inconsistencies in the law need to be rectified. To cite one example, Section 30 requires an employer to pay an employee whose employment has ceased within 30 days, while Section 123 requires the payment to be made within seven days.

Moreover, the law does not comply with international labor standards regarding children and hazardous work. ILO Convention 138 forbids the employment of children under 18 years of age in hazardous employment, or 16 if he or she has adequate training. BLA 2006 permits adolescents between the ages of 14-18 to work in hazardous work if they are given adequate training. In addition to labor legislation, the Bangladesh Constitution also guarantees specific labor-related rights, and delineates certain Fundamental Principles of State Policy that are related to labor and social policy. The fundamental rights include the rights to freedom of association; freedom from discrimination on the basis of religion, race, and sex; equality of opportunity in public employment; prohibition against forced labor; and freedom to choose an occupation. The constitution also states as fundamental principles that it shall be a fundamental responsibility of the state to provide citizens guaranteed employment at a reasonable wage, with reasonable rest, recreation and leisure, and social security.



SECTION 61: Safety of Building and Machinery 1. If it appears to the Inspector that any building or part of the building or any part of the ways, machinery or plant in an establishment is such a condition that it is dangerous to human life or safety, he may serve to the employer, an order in writing specifying the measures which, in his opinion, should be adopted, and requiring them to be carried out within a specified time.

2. If it appears to the Inspector that the use of any building or part of the building or any part of the ways, machinery or plant in an establishment involves imminent danger to human life or safety he may serve to the employer an order in writing prohibiting its use until it has been properly repaired or altered. Real Picture: What we have found through our survey is almost every construction industry has some hazardous machinery, plant or part of the building. But inspection is not a regular practice. Measures are taken only when it is necessary to avoid legal barriers. SECTION 62: Precaution in case of fire 1. Every establishment shall be provided with at least one alternative connection stairway with each floor and such means of escape in case of fire and firefighting apparatus, as may be prescribed by rules. Real Picture: We have seen that not every industry has an alternative connection stairway. Though some noted industries practice this law, small developer firms are quite indifferent to carry this extra cost.

2. If it appears to the inspector that any establishment is not provided with the means of escape prescribed under sub-section (1) he may serve on the employer of the establishment an order in writing specifying the measures which in his opinion, should be adopted before a date specified in the order. Real Picture: When served by an inspector, industries take necessary steps to make sure the means of escape. But this inspection is not a regular practice in Bangladesh which paves the way for the industries to neglect this law.

3. In every establishment the doors affording exit from any room shall not be locked or fastened so that they can be easily and immediately opened from inside while any person is within the room and all such doors, unless they are of the sliding type, shall be constructed to open outwards or where the door is between two rooms, and all such doors, unless they are of the sliding type, shall be constructed to open outwards or where the door is between two rooms, in the direction of the nearest exit from the building and no such door shall be locked or obstructed while work is being carried on in the room. Real Picture: Exit doors are never locked but door are not always constructed to open outside and not all time doors are in direction of the nearest exit. These laws are merely practiced by industries. Even it was interesting for us to know that no worker is aware of these laws.

4. In every establishment every window, or other exit affording means of escape in case of fire, other than the means of exit in ordinary use, shall be distinctively marked in Bangla and in red letters of adequate size or by some other effective and clearly understood sign.

Real Picture: It is stated earlier that some industries have some fire exits but only few of them have been signed perfectly. Some signs have erased up and others have not been signed yet.

5. In every establishment there shall be provided effective and clearly audible means of giving warning in case of fire to every person. Real Picture: We have found that most of the construction industries have microphone system to warn workers about fire. As we visited four construction industries three of them have microphone place in everywhere. But only industrys microphone was actually working. 6. A free passage-way giving access to each means of escape in case of fire shall be maintained for the use of all workers in every room of the establishment. Real Picture: In our survey we have seen that some industries have an alternative connection stairway and it connected to every floor. But there is no free passage way dedicated for fire escape. 7. In factories wherein fifty or more workers and employees are employed shall arrange at least once in a year a mock fire-fighting and the employer shall maintain a book of records in this regards. Real Picture: Fire escape training has not been conducted yet in any of the industries that we have visited. Employers only warn the worker about fire and remind them how to escape incase fire breaks out.

SECTION 63: Fencing the Machinery In every establishment the following shall be securely fenced by the safeguards of substantial construction which shall be kept in position while the part of machinery required to be fenced are in mention or in use, namely (a) every moving part of a prime mover, and every fly wheel connected to a prime mover; (b) the head-race and tail-race of every water wheel and water turbine; (c) any part of a stock-bar which projects beyond the head stock of a lathe; and (d) unless they are in such position or of such construction as to be as safe to every person employed in the establishment as they would be if they were securely fenced(I) every part of an electric generator- a motor or rotary converter, (ii) every part of transmission machinery, and (iii) every dangerous part of any machinery Real Picture: We have seen that electrical generators or motor converters are always fenced in these industries and they signed as Dangerous. But workers did not seem to pay any heed to that. They are not aware of this safety regards.

SECTION 64: Work on or near machinery in motion: Where in any establishment it becomes necessary to examine any part of machinery referred to in section 61 while the machinery is in motion or as a result to such examination to carry out any mounting or shipping of belts, Lubrication or other


adjusting operation while the machinery is in motion such examination or operation shall be made or carried out only by a specially trained adult male worker wearing tight-fitting clothing whose name has been recorded in the register prescribed in this behalf and while he so engaged such worker shall not handle a belt at a moving pulley unless the belt is less than fifteen centimeters in width and unless the belt-joint is either laced or flush with the belt.

Real Picture: We have seen that in construction industries machineries that are in motion like mixer machine are operated by trained worker. Inexperienced workers are not allowed to operate such applicators. There are some trainees who help the main experiences workers.

SECTION 67: Casing of new machinery: In all machinery driven by power and installed in any establishment after the commencement of this Acta) every set screw, belt or key or any revolving shaft, spindle wheel or pinion shall be so, sunk, encased or otherwise effectively guarded to prevent danger; and b) all spur, worm and other toothed or friction gearing which does not require frequent adjustment while in motion shall be completely encased unless it is so situated as to be as safe it would be if it were be if were completely encased. Real Picture When a new machinery is installed all types of precautions are taken to make that machine safe. An instructor is employed to train worker how to use the machine.

SECTION 68: Cranes and other lifting machinery


The following provisions shall apply ina) every part thereof, including the working gear, whether fixed or movable, ropes and chains and anchoring and fixing appliances shall bei. ii. iii. of good construction, sound material and adequate strength, properly maintained, thoroughly examined by a competent person at least once in every period of twelve months and a register shall be kept containing the prescribed particulars of every such examination;

b) no such machinery shall be loaded beyond the safe working load which shall be plainly marked thereon; and c) while any person is employed or working on or near the wheel-tract of a traveling crane in any place, where he would be liable to be struck by the crane, effective measures shall be taken to ensure that crane does not approach within six meter of that place.

Real Picture We have seen that there was no instruction about safe working load. Though laws ask for examination these machineries once in a year, as we asked the worker, examination is not performed time to time. We have been told that maintenance of these machines is done accordingly. Law regarding wheel- truck is not a regular practice. We saw a crane was merely five meters away from where the workers were working.

SECTION 69: Hoists and lifts: 1. In every establishment every hoist and lift shall bea. of good mechanical construction, sound material and adequate strength, b. properly maintained,


c. shall be thoroughly examined by competent person at least once in every period of six months, and a register shall be kept containing the prescribed particulars of every such examination;

2. every hoist way and lift way shall be sufficiently protected by an enclosure fitted with gates, and the hoist or sift and every such enclosure shall be so constructed as to prevent any person or thing from being trapped between any part of the hoist or lift and any fixed structure or moving part; 3. the maximum safe working load shall be plainly marked on every hoist or lift and no load greater than such load shall be carried thereon; 4. the cage of every hoist or lift used for carrying persons shall be fitted with a gate on each side from which access is afforded to a landing; 5. every gate referred to in subsection (2) or (4) shall be fitted with interlocking or other efficient device to secure that the gate cannot be opened except when the cage is at the landing and that the cage cannot be moved unless the gate is closed. 6. The following additional requirements shall apply to hoists and lifts used for carrying persons and installed or reconstructed in an establishment after the commencement of this Act, namelya. Where the cage is supported by rope or chain there shall be at least two ropes or chains separately connected with its attachments shall be capable of carrying the whole weight of the cage together with its maximum load; b. Efficient devices shall be provided and maintained capable of supporting the cage together with its maximum load in the event of breakage of the ropes, chains or attachments; c. an efficient automatic device shall be provided and maintained to prevent the cage from over-running.

7. The chief Inspector may permit the continued use of a hoist or lift installed in an establishment before the commencement of this Act which does not fully comply

with the provisions of subsection (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) upon such conditions for ensuring safety as he may think fit to impose.

Real Picture We have been told that maintenance of lifts and hoists are done time to time. But what we have seen is there was no sufficient protection. There was no marking of maximum working load. Gates of the hoist and lift did not have any interlocking. When we asked a worker he said that he knew when to open the gate so they dont need any interlocking. Again we did not see them wearing helmet while they were in the lift- cage. There was no automatic device maintaining the cage. Inspection is not a regular practice.



We went to three tannery industries and three construction industries. Tannery industries were Bay Tannery Limited, Apex Tannery Limited and Korim Lather Limited. Construction industries were Dynamic Developments, Unique Living Limited and Civic Developments Limited. The geographical areas we covered are Badda, Shantinagar, Mirpur and Hajaribag. As we surveyed these industries to find whether they practice the laws of Safety and wages & payment according to The Bangladesh labor Code, 2006 surprisingly we have found that these laws are not practice to a great extent. Even workers are not aware of their rights. As long as they are paid money they do not protest against any violation of laws for other factors. Safety is a major issue. But willingness of the employer to confirm safety is not always found. At this point both the industries perform the same thing. Another point we have seen that worker are continuously being threatened of suspension. As Bangladesh has a huge population there is always enough supply of labor. Economic conditions of workers also prevent themselves from taking any strong position. As a result they do not have the concern of safety.

Low education level also is a burden. Workers do not know about laws. They cannot assure their rights and that paves the way for the employer to exploit them through violation of laws. To ensure all kinds of safety employers need to bear some extra cost which in turn lowers their profit. Because of this the employers do not agree to bear those costs. Irregular inspection from government also helps this situation. If government can maintain regular inspection employers have to cautious for their own favor. RAJUK, the government agency for construction is quite indifferent to check the situation. From some interviews we have also found that some official of RAJUK are corrupted who help the situation be worsen.



In our quest to find the truth, we have come across the cruel world of labour workers and realized the risk they undertake every day of the week. In construction sites, a wrong step is all that is needed to send them to their deaths. In tanneries, it is a slow but sure poisoning for the workers.

When visiting the Dom-Inno site in Green Road, we could not see any of the workers wearing helmets or safety harnesses. There was a safety net around the construction site to protect civilians bypassing the construction site but no protection was provided for the workers. When we asked the authority why they did not provide the workers with proper protective gear, he answered by saying that the proper gears were provided but the workers felt more comfortable without them and is therefore working without them.


Following statements from Ahmed Riad Memon of The Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh known as REHAB will be helpful in presenting a real understanding. In our sector we are continuously giving messages for our members to upgrade theirs sites. If you put on a safety belt there is hardly any chance to get any accidents. This does not cost that much. If you compare it to your investment, this is absolutely nothing.

He also went on blaming the workforce. Actually the workers come to our sites, usually they are unskilled, when they come our site, we used to train them, train them in the sense that is usually on the job training, to use helmets on the construction sites, then to put on gum boots the use of safety nets, but what we found these workers who actually before coming to our site always were barefooted, or just putting on simple tee-shirts, and so they are not familiar with keeping helmets on their head so were are trying to push them to use these kind of things, but we are facing problems. According to authorities and officials, it is Rajuks, the Capital Development Authoritys, fault that the rules and regulation arent being followed. Rajuk is supposed to insure the Bangladesh Nation Building Code is being followed, but when asked whether inspections take place the answer was rarely.

A lot of necessary rules regarding fire hazards are being followed. But we did notice that one of the fire extinguishers was expired. Rules regarding hoist and electrical machinery are followed only up to the point till which authorities seem necessary, not according to the law.


The truth is most of the deaths come the not using of safety harness and REHAB is trying to encourage and establish that amongst the workforce.

In Leather Processing factories, tannery, the whole scenario is different.

When we entered, it instantaneously seemed like a dark world. When we asked around about safety measures for workers, the immediate answer at all the three companies were, We give them everything they need. But when we glanced in we could see that they were not given protective glasses for their eyes, gloves when working with chemical and so forth.

In case of fire, precautionary were present but not adequate. Workers were not given any training; there was no microphone to announce fire hazards. But some laws such as placing fire extinguishers, building fire escape were followed.

There is very limited use of heavy machinery in tanneries and safety precautions around them could not be judged. But there was little protection from the hazardous chemicals the workers are constantly exposed to.

To sum everything up, the government needs to come into the picture in both these industries and clean up the industrialists act so that the labour workers can finally have some of the rights they are promised by the Government of Bangladesh.



1. Sen, Arun Kumar & Mitra, Jitendra Kumar (2006). Commercial Law and Industrial Law. (25th Revised Edition) The World press private limited, Kolkata. pp. 399-450. 2. Paul, Nirmal Chandra (2007). The Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 & Other Related Laws (1ST Edition) Shams Publications, Dhaka. pp. 106-133. 17

3. Rahman, Azizur, 25, September, 2011; Administrative Director, Bay Tannery 4. Rahman, Rezaur, 25, September, 2011; Administrative Director, Bay Tannery 5. Gandhi, Ashim, 8, September, 2011; Managing Director, Sanmar Properties Limited 6. Yusuf, Jawad, 22, September, 2011, Employee, Dom-Inno Builders Ltd. 7. Health and Safety Executive, Workplace health, safety and welfare, a short guide for managers SEBA limited, Salient Features of the Bangladesh Labor Law 2006 Related to the Rmg Sector 8. International Labour Organization. (2006). Database of International Labour Standards. << >> [Last Visited: 26.05.2011] 9. Gain, P. 1998. Leather Industry: Environmental Pollution and Mitigation Measures. Dhaka: Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD). 10. ILO. 2006. Global Child Labour Trends 2000-2004. Geneva: ILO-IPEC-SIMPOC. 11. Karim, AZ. 2005. Baseline Survey on Child Labour situation in Leather Tannery Industry in Dhaka District. Dhaka: ILO. 12. International Labor Organization Home <<>> [Last Visited: 25.05.2011]


Appendix A: Questionnaire used in the Survey

Safety & Machinery * health inspector factory visit ? ? *health inspector ? Adopting precaution regarding Fire * ? - ? - ? ? - ? - ? * Fire extinguisher ? * ? * training ? -( fire extinguishing demo, once in a year) ! 18

Fencing of Machinery (prime mover & fly wheel, head races of water-wheel & water-turbine, stock bar of lathe)+(generator, motor, rotary converter, transmission machinery, dangerous part of any machinery) * ? Striking gear and devices for cutting off power *electricity * ( ) Cranes & other Lifting Machinery *maintainance- time period, register of maintainance by a competent person Hoists & Lifts *maintainance- time period, register of maintainance by a competent person *hoist & lift ? *maximum ? * ? * ? Revolving Machinery *permanent notice- max speed, velocity of shaft or pulley *