Safety Blog®

Rana Plaza, tres años después

El colapso del edificio Rana Plaza en Bangladesh en 2013 causó la muerte de más de 1.100 trabajadores de la confección y puso de manifiesto la necesidad de promover el trabajo decente en las cadenas mundiales de suministro.

La OIT, trabajando en estrecha colaboración con el Gobierno y sus interlocutores sociales, ha desempeñado un papel central en la respuesta a la tragedia del Rana Plaza.

El siguiente reportaje gráfico nos ilustra los progresos alcanzados hasta el momento y lo que queda por hacer.

Todas las fábricas de la confección orientadas a la exportación han sido inspeccionadas para verificar la seguridad estructural, eléctrica y contra incendios. La OIT ha prestado asistencia al Gobierno en sus esfuerzos de inspección, mientras que dos grupos del sector privado – el Acuerdo y la Alianza – inspeccionaron las fábricas que abastecen a sus miembros.

De las más de 3.600 fábricas inspeccionadas, 39 fueron cerradas porque presentaban un peligro inmediato para los trabajadores. Todas las restantes deben emprender un proceso de reparación, que incluye acciones como la instalación de puertas antiincendios. © Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

La inspección de trabajo está en la primera línea para garantizar la seguridad de los trabajadores y el respeto de sus derechos. Con el apoyo de la OIT, ha sido objeto de una importante reforma desde el colapso del Rana Plaza en su esfuerzo por convertirse en una institución más eficaz, creíble y responsable.

Las motocicletas suministradas por la OIT permiten que los inspectores del trabajo lleguen a las fábricas con mayor facilidad.

Una cultura de seguridad y salud en el trabajo está siendo desarrollada en Bangladesh. La OIT colabora con el Gobierno y las organizaciones de empleadores y trabajadores a fin de contribuir a crear conciencia sobre los riesgos, su prevención y la puesta en práctica de las normas.

Selim is an owner of a small grocery shop at the Bank Colony area at Savar, a densely populated industrial area in the outskirts of Dhaka, the Capital of Bangladesh. He has designed the shop keeping space from the entrance to the shelves so that the customers can collect product themselves. âMy shop is almost self-service based. The customers come to buy goods, enter the shop, choose products and then pay the bill. Often they do all these things themselves. I donât hesitateâ, he told casually. Selim usually sells grocery items. Rice, oil, flour, dal, sugar, biscuit, washing powder, soap, milk are the common items among all products. He also keeps chips, chocolates and cold drinks, particularly for the young customers. In terms of product selection, both Selim and his wife make decision together. âWe assess our existing products. We observe the preference and requirements of the customers. This is the priority. When a customer asks me for a product which is not available at my shop, I try to make it available in the next few days. Another way is that the distributors come to my shop with their productsâ, he explained. Selim has a fridge, three shelves and a small bench at his small shop to accommodate the products.
Selim has a routine of work. âI sit at the shop from around 8 am. I take a break after lunch, from 1 pm to 4 pm. Then I reopen the shop and run till around 9-10 pm, depending on the flow of customersâ, he described. He is happy with dealing customers. âMany customers know about me. They speak to me, take care and encourage me doing this business. I understand, they love me a lot. I get support from the local people, even from the municipalityâ, he expressed his satisfaction.
A customer, named Ferdousi, was in the shop to buy products. She took 2 packets of flour, a container of oil, soap and a mosquito coil. After taking all these in a bag, she paid the bill. While asked about choosing this shop, Ferdousi told that many people come here to buy their daily essentials. She said, âI used to buy products regularly from another (Mintuâs) shop. But now I buy products from Selim bhaiâs shop. Besides, he has a good collection of products. If you have that in your shop, customers must come to your shop.â
Shahjahan Selim (35) is brave man, who is trying to return to the normal life. He was one of the workers who survived from the Rana Plaza building that collapsed on April 24, 2013. He worked at the Ether Tex Factory at the building. After the building collapse, he had been safely rescued from the collapsed building. Being rescued, he became anxious for his beloved workmates who were trapped in the collapsed structure. Selim could not stop himself to enter to the collapsed building to rescue his trapped colleagues. âI managed to save 37 workers and pulled out 28 corpses from the rubbles. I rescued two workers by cutting their legs and one by cutting hand. While rescuing a worker named Razib, I got stuck. I slipped down suddenly, around four stories into the collapsed structure. I got serious injury in my left leg and headâ, Selim recalled the moments. In the next few months after the incident, Selim suffered from serious pain and injury. It was so unfortunate that he joined the factory just before 6 days of the tragic incident. âI was taken to different hospitals including Gonosasthokedro and CRPâ, he mentioned. It was not easy to recover due to the type and degree of injury that prolonged his sufferings. On the other hand, Selim was the main bread winner of his family. After the incident, he lost his regular source of income. He was trying to manage a source of living. Since he was not physically fit to resume work in the factories or other regular jobs, it promoted his vulnerability. He passed days with illness and anxiety. The uncertainty over the upcoming future made his days gloomy.
Selim fights back. A few months ago, he started the small grocery shop in front of his home. âI received BDT 95,000 through BKash following the incident, in several installments. I did not waste the money. My wife and I planned together to invest the money in a small business. We rented this space for a shop with BDT 20,000 as advance. Then we invested around BDT 20,000 more for initially run the business. Besides, I got some financial help from my brotherâ, Selim described his gradually. âI faced difficulties in the initial stage. Because, I didnât have any experience of running a business. I had limited money to use and invest. But now my shop is packed of productsâ, he continued.
Although shifting career from a job to self-employment is difficult and risky for a wage-earner like Selim, who has been working in the sector for nearly 2 decades, he is trying to cope with the unexpected transformation. âIn my last job at Rana Plaza, I used to receive 10,000 BDT a month. Now, after all expenses, I manage to secure around BDT 5000 to 6000 per month. Still, Iâm happy with my earning, because it serves my family. I wish to expand the businessâ, Selim told boldly.
Selim is a member of the âBandhanâ Self Help Group of âLESâ Project. He got involved in the regular group interactions, sharing and discussion sessions. Since he wanted to be self-employed, he was included in the business development support scheme of a project, being implemented by ActionAid Bangladesh and its partner CSID, with funding support from ILO. âIâm getting business development support from ActionAid and CSID. I received business training in last December. Iâve learnt the business procedure there. I knew how to maintain relation with the customers and suppliers. Now, I try to keep all the records of the productsâ, Selim described. He was also provided with psychosocial counseling and career counseling under the project intervention.
Migrating from the home district Tangail more than 18 years ago, he has been living at the Bank Colony area of Savar with his family. Selim worked at the YoungOne factory for around 17 years. Before leaving the factory, he worked as a quality supervisor. âI live in the nearby house. I have a small family; my son, my wife and I. My son is studying in Class 9 at a local school. My mother lives in my home village. My father passed away. I have five sisters and two brothersâ, Selim describes. âMy wife is my main supporter. She takes care all the time. She works at an EPZ factory from early morning to the evening. After she gets back, she helps me managing the shop. She cleans the floor every day and keeps the products in place. My son also helps me a lotâ, Selim continues.
The only son is the center of Selimâs all dreams. He dreams for a bright future of his son. He has the plan to educate his son, as much as possible. The sincere boy takes care of his father. In the working days, when his mother goes to work, he takes his father to the shop and brings back to the home. He helps his father by giving food, assisting to take shower. Then again he takes him to the shop after the break. âMy son informed our friends and relatives during the rescue work by calling them over phone. He was keeping eye on the TV channels during that timeâ, Selim described proudly.
Selim is not upset for his disability. âI feel that I dedicated myself to save my workmates, the people who earn breads for their families. I know that my condition is improving. I believe that I will get well. When I think of the people whom I rescued, I feel proud. I love to serve people. My son and wife, both are so proud of me. People around us respect our family. All these bring me happinessâ, Selim told with a bright face.
Selim is now suffering from partial paralysis, which may lead to long-term disability. He uses a crutch for movement. He is unable to move comfortably and often need support from someone. He needs health support regularly, especially physiotherapy. At his current workplace, he needs to take small breaks often in the day. He cannot sit at a stress. âI often feel strong pain in the lower side of my body. I need to move sometimes, stand and sit after every single hour, alternatively. Although I realize improvement in the hands and a leg, I feel pain in the lower back and left leg. When I try to sit in the tool, I feel pain. But I know that I have to be cured. In the last few months, Iâve received physiotherapy support from CRP and ActionAid. The health support from the Shahibag center helped me so muchâ, he mentioned. Now, the full recovery of Selim is subject to advanced treatment and follow-up medical support.
The Rana Plaza disaster was a shocking experience from all consideration. But we found a few tremendous learning examples also. The collective effort of rescue operation, initiated by the community people and volunteers that resulted in rescuing 2438 survivors, was undoubtedly an exemplary episode of the incident. Selimâs outstanding work has symbolized the spirit of humanity. It reminds us, volunteerism still exists in the society. It also makes us remember Kaykobad, who dedicated his life to rescue the affected workers. Almost two years have passed. Still, those who were rescued by Selim, come to meet him. They must be happy seeing the turn of the brave heart, towards a normal life.

El colapso del Rana Plaza dejó a muchos sobrevivientes y a sus familias en una situación muy vulnerable. La OIT ayudó a 300 de estos trabajadores a adquirir nuevas competencias y a integrarse en la fuerza laboral. Un gran número recibió apoyo para establecer una pequeña empresa, al mismo tiempo se les ofreció la asistencia psicosocial y asesoramiento.

Factory Visit.
Bando Apparels Ltd.
Mohammadpur Beri Badh.

La OIT colabora con los sindicatos para desarrollar su capacidad de organizarse. Es necesario facilitar la formación de nuevos sindicatos e investigar la discriminación antisindical de manera sistemática y transparente.

La OIT trabaja con los sindicatos para fortalecer su capacidad de organizarse, así como en otros ámbitos importantes como la seguridad y la salud en el trabajo.

Factory Visit.
Bando Apparels Ltd.
Mohammadpur Beri Badh.

Las actividades de la OIT dirigidas a mejorar la seguridad del lugar de trabajo y el respeto de los derechos de los trabajadores en Bangladesh son financiadas por Canadá, los Países Bajos, el Reino Unido, Noruega, Suecia, Dinamarca y el Departamento de Trabajo de Estados Unidos.


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