BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [‘Building Construction Code and Worker Safety’ Case]

Writ Petition No. 718 of 2008

High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

Facts:
BLAST, along with the Occupational Safety Health and Environment Trust (OSHE), filed a writ petition challenging the inaction and omission on the part of the respondents to secure compliance with legal provisions regarding safety and security of construction workers as provided in the Bangladesh National Building Construction Code, 2006, leading to serious injuries and deaths of construction workers in the workplace. National newspapers reported 50 deaths of construction workers between January and December of 2007  as a result of falling from heights, having contact with electrical cables, or being crushed following the collapse of buildings, trenches or walls, and the collapse of buildings during demolition. During the demolition operation of RANGS Bhaban, a multi-story building in Dhaka, in pursuance of an order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, a part of the building collapsed, resulting in the deaths of several construction workers. Allegedly, the company assigned to demolish RANGS Bhaban had failed to comply with the necessary safety measures in undertaking the demolition in accordance with the requirements specified under the National Building Construction Code, 2006.

Arguments:
The petitioners claimed that the concerned authority’s failure to give effect to the provisions of the 2006 Code had endangered the security of construction workers, exposing them to the risk of severe injuries and death, in violation of their right to life as guaranteed by Article 32 of the Constitution.

Order: The High Court directed the Government to explain within four weeks why its failure to date to establish a government agency as provided for under the Bangladesh National Building Construction Code, 2006 for enforcement of the law, does not constitute a breach of its statutory and constitutional duties. The Court also directed the Government to submit a statement to the Court setting out what steps it has taken to secure the safety of construction workers since the Code became law in November 2006.

Laws Cited: Constitution, Article 32; Bangladesh National Building Construction Code, 2006

Status:
Pending hearing

 

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