Tannery industry experts have said workers and management officials must be careful and responsible in using chemicals, and operating machines while working in the industries.
The chemicals used in the tannery industry are harmful to the health of workers, but health risks can be minimised if necessary safety measures are in place, they mentioned at a consultation meeting titled "What to do to ensure health protection of tannery workers" on Sunday, organised by the Tannery Workers Union and Solidarity Center-Bangladesh Office at the union office in the leather industrial state, Savar.
Mohammad Nazrul Islam, programme officer of the Solidarity Center-Bangladesh Office, said tannery workers suffer from various diseases, including skin diseases, malnutrition, and respiratory problems. Apart from this, local people also suffer from multiple diseases due to factory waste. Workers, owners, factory management officials, and local people should come forward to get rid of this situation, he added.
Mizanur Rahman, senior vice chairman of the Bangladesh Tanners Association, who was present as chief guest at the event, called upon various NGOs and organisations to come forward to provide appropriate training to the members of the factory safety committee formed to improve the health and safety situation.
Besides, he requested the government's relevant authorities, including BSCIC to take necessary measures to establish permanent healthcare centers in the industrial city.
Belal Ahmed, former head of the community medicine department of Dhaka National Medical College was present as the chief discussant in the meeting, chaired by Tannery Workers Union President Abul Kalam Azad.
Belal Ahmed said protective measures should be strengthened to stay free from diseases. Everyone should refrain from eating unhealthy food and live a clean life. Factory owners should play a proactive role in protecting workers' health, emphasising the use of personal protective equipment by workers.
If workers are healthy, production will increase, he concluded.