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LABOUR LOG: 22 Contractual Workers Died Last Week in Workplace Accidents Across States

On construction sites, in mines, or while cleaning sewage, several worker deaths could have been avoided had safety measures been in place.
On construction sites, in mines, or while cleaning sewage, several worker deaths could have been avoided had safety measures been in place.

Representational Image. File Image

India has an abysmal record in worker deaths at the workplace, more so in what is called the informal or unorganised sector, including on construction sites, in mines or while cleaning sewage. No collated data could be found of worker deaths across sectors, but most of the deceased were migrant contractual workers, who are deprived of social security and other benefits. NewsClick has collated some of these deaths in the past week.

Hyderabad: 3 Workers Die While Cleaning Manhole

On March 1, 2024, three workers died of inhaling toxic gas while they were cleaning a manhole in Hyderabad.

A 40-year-old worker who first entered the manhole in Kulsumpura locality first collapsed, his other two colleagues tried to save him but also fell unconscious, according to news agency PTI.

The three men were hired by a private agency to clean the sewerage, personnel of the Disaster Response Force (DRF) of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) told the news agency.

Bengal: 2 Workers Killed in Cooch Behar Water Tank Collapse

On February 29, 2024, two workers died and one was injured in Cooch Behar when a 15-year-old overhead water reservoir collapsed over them as they were climbing the ramshackle staircase over them.

The deceased have been identified as Ziarul Hossain, 48 and Madan Gupta, 40.

Recently, the West Bengal Public Health Engineering department had assigned the task of repairing and cleaning the tank to a contractor, who in turn awarded the job to a subcontractor, said a report in The Telegraph.

A section of local people alleged that there was a lapse on the part of the contractor. “He should have checked the old staircase before letting the workers use it to reach the top of the reservoir,” said a resident quoted in the report.

Chhattisgarh: 4 Workers Killed at NMDC Mining Site

On February 27, 2024, four migrant construction workers were killed in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada when a wall collapsed at an iron ore mining site belonging to public sector National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).

The dead were identified as Bittu Bala, Tushar Bala, and Nirmal Bala from West Bengal, and Santosh Kumar Das from Bihar. All of them were contractual workers. Two other workers who were injured have been hospitalised.

Death of labourers at construction sites has risen nearly three-fold annually since 2021, according to a report in The Hindu.

As per available data is that there are at least 38 accidents every day across construction sites in India.

Odisha: 2 Workers Die at Nalco Construction Site

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at least two workers died and one was critically injured after heavy iron rods fell over them at a construction site on Nalco (National Aluminium Company) in Damanjodi in Koraput. The dead were identified as Sama Rajabanshi (44) and Sanat Kunai (34) from Jharkhand. The workers were hired on contract.

According to sources cited by The New Indian Express, though the job was allotted to construction equipment supplier Zetwerk through a tender process, a local Amulya Construction company was executing the work as sub-contract.

Nalco’s general manager (safety) Prabhat Kumar Das told the newspaper that the construction contractor had not taken any general work permit from the safety department.

UP: 8 Workers Die, Dozen Burnt in Kaushambi Factory Blast

On February 25, 2024, at least eight workers died and a dozen injured in an explosion inside a fireworks factory in Bharwari in UP’s Koshambi district.

Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of Prayagraj Zone Bhanu Bhaskar told NDTV that, "The cracker factory belonged to one Shahid (35). He was also killed in the blast along with six others." As per information shared by the office of UP relief commissioner, the deceased were identified as Shiv Narayan, Shivkant, Ashok Kumar, Jaichandra, Harilal and Sonelal. One Munnalal also succumbed to injuries later.

SP Kaushambi Brijesh Kumar Srivastava told the media that the factory in Bharwari had the license to both sell and manufacture firecrackers.

UP: 2 Workers Killed in Meerut Tyre Workshop Boiler Blast

On February 25, a boiler blast inside a tyre workshop, Durga Enterprises, in Meerut claimed the lives of two workers, and left four injured.

The deceased were identified as Shankar Singh (27) and Praveen Kumar (28) of Kishorpura Village in Incholi area.

Preliminary reports indicated a potential failure to comply with safety protocols at the factory, which could have played a role in the unfortunate deaths of two individuals.

HP: Nepalese Worker Dies at Chamba Road Construction Site

On February 25, 2024, a Nepalese labourer was killed and another seriously injured when a crate wall collapsed along an under-construction road in the Bharmour subdivision of Chamba district.

The dead worker has been identified as Dipender Punn from Nepal  and the injured one as  Kishori Lal, a resident of Dapota village in Bharmour, according to a report in The Tribune.

According to police, labourers from a private company were involved in erecting the crate wall on the under-construction Greema-Khani link road when the wire supporting the crate work snapped, causing boulders to fall on the labourers.

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