HRCP voices concerns over safety of factory workers

Thursday, September 13th, 2012 12:30:50 by

Expressing concerns over the death of at least 289 people in factory fires in Karachi, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) urged the authorities concerned to ensure protection of workers across the country.

According to a statement, the commission expressed satisfaction over the job did by firefighters.

However, they were not satisfied with the facilities saying that the capacity to fight fires in the business hub of the country is questionable.

The death toll of the Karachi fire incident reached 289 with reportedly several dozen workers still missing and presumably dead in the basement that could not be penetrated by rescue workers.

The HRCP in its statement asked the higher ups to take immediate action against the culprits. It also asked the government to ensure that safety measures were taken to protect factory workers in the country.

The statement added, “The government had promised to look into the case but many factors which contributed to the fire were common knowledge, including the bad working conditions at such factories”.

It stated that the workers couldn’t escape in time due to the lack of multiple exit and entry points in the building.

It added, “The factory in Lahore only had one entry-exit point and in Karachi, many workers died because they had to jump out of a four-storey building. Highly inflammable substances were stored inside the building and no safety measures were taken. The situation got worse as there were no fire alarms or fire extinguishers”.

The HRCP moreover claimed that the government should also find out why factories were allowed to operate in such bad conditions if it was investigating the cause of the fire eruption.

According to the statement, the commission was of the opinion that factories should be fined for hazardous storage areas and not having an evacuation plane in case of an emergency.

It said, “In both cases it is obvious that the proprietors had their priorities wrong. They set profit above the well being of their employees. The government should have checked up on this”.

The HRCP raised question why was the authorities concerned ascertained the fact that the factory was dangerous with a weak structure and had no emergency exits.

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