KARACHI: Leaders of a union campaigning for the rights of workers on Thursday said workers at factories and other workplaces suffered serious accidents routinely in which they got wounded and often lost their lives.
“All this is happening because of non-implementation of the labour laws and deliberate negligence of health and safety standards,” said National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) President Rafiq Baloch at a press conference at the union’s office.
He said despite witnessing horrible industrial disasters, such as the fires in Ali Enterprises factory and Gadani oil tanker, neither employers nor the government had taken sufficient measures to ensure the safety of workers.
NTUF’s deputy secretary general Nasir Mansoor also highlighted the risks associated with the use of asbestos in industries which was another grave issue and had put the lives of workers at perpetual risk.
Mined in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said Mr Mansoor, that silicated fibrous substance was 400 times thinner than a human hair but it was highly dangerous. The material is used in building construction, pipes, boilers, fireproof products, textile, cement, automobiles and shipbuilding. It is also found in ships that are dismantled in Gadani.
The invisible particles of asbestos are inhaled and causing lung diseases and cancers. They also damage the food pipe in the body. A report by the World Health Organisation documented that 125 million people had been affected by asbestos and annually 90,000 people died because of it. The United States, Saudi Arabia and 60 other countries have already banned asbestos completely or partially.
The speakers demanded an immediate ban on the mining and use of asbestos and urged the authorities that the ILO-defined mechanism should be employed to destroy the available material and control its effects where it had been used.