Two workers fell sick after inhaling toxic gas while working. They were rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital around 9:20 pm, but died there undergoing treatment.
Ship breaking may be the world’s most dangerous job, and there are several reasons for this. One is the risk to workers’ health. They are exposed to whatever chemicals are left on board the ship or that were used in its construction. Especially in older ships, asbestos can be a problem and inhalation of it can lead to mesothelioma, a type of cancer.
Workers may also be exposed to lead and other heavy metals, radiation from radium, and polychlorinated biphenyls, a toxic type of chemical. Illness caused by exposure to dangerous substances is just one risk of ship breaking work.
These workers are also at great risk for injuries caused by accidents. Falling pieces of salvaged steel or machinery can cause serious injuries and death. Electric shocks, fires, and explosions are also possible.
Workers are at risk of falling too. They may be working at great heights, trying to cut up large pieces of steel, difficult work that can easily lead to a fall.
Often, ship breaking is done in hot climates and on sandy beaches. These conditions add additional risks to the job. The fact that the ships are beached on sand means that the ground cannot always support these huge structures. The shifting sand can easily cause them to collapse and workers can get caught in these accidents.
Many of these accidents happen in Bangladesh where the country has been criticized for not having policies in place that protect these workers. Safety regulations are lax, and therefore, workers here get hurt and die regularly.
Credit: Dhaka Tribune, Maritime Injury Center
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