Visual Story

These photos show the hazardous conditions for construction workers in Kathmandu

- KESHAV THAPA, Kathmandu

Feb 26, 2019-

Occupational safety and health related deaths account for around 2.7 million deaths around the world annually, according to the International Labour Organization. Similarly, nearly 317 million workers suffer from work-related injuries every year. There is no data on workplace-related deaths and accidents in Nepal, where safety of construction and factory workers are taken for granted.

Though the Labour Act 2017 mentions that protecting workers from occupational hazards is the employers’ responsibility, workers in Nepal, particularly those at construction sites, are seen without proper protective gear and safety harness.

Two workers died and a third one was seriously injured when a lift cable snapped at a building construction site in  Kathmandu recently.

Bishnu Majhi, who hails from Sindhuli district, says he has seen many of his colleagues getting injured as a direct result of poor work safety practices ever since he joined the construction sector 13 years ago.  

“In our line of work, you are always a step away from injury. So it is highly advisable to wear protective gear. But in many cases, the employers do not provide safety gear,” says Majhi.  

Inspection of work safety is unheard of in Nepal.

Visit any building construction site, and they are replete with poor work safety practices. Most often than not, workers are without protective helmets, gloves, boots or all three of them. And in case of buildings that are several storeys high, workers are often seen precariously perched on scaffold beams without any safety harness.  

The concept of work safety is slowly seeping into Nepal’s construction sector, with some companies offering protective gear to the workers. But they do not offer full set of protective gear, such as helmets and gloves.

Pasang Sherpa, a 21-year-old construction worker from Sindhupalchok, says the government should strongly enforce work safety practices, as well as teach and train workers about safety to reduce injuries and deaths.

“I have come across many workers, most of them young, who do not wear safety gear because they say that they feel encumbered. If the safety regulation is strictly enforced, I know they will have no choice than to wear helmets, gloves and boots, without exception,” says Sherpa.

 

A worker scans his surroundings as he stands on a scaffold raised for the construction of a new office building of the Department of Consular Service and Passport in Tripureshwor, Kathmandu. Post Photo: Keshav Thapa

 

A worker at the building construction site of the Department of Consular Service and Passport in Tripureshwor, Kathmandu. Post Photo: Keshav Thapa

A worker at the building construction site of the Department of Consular Service and Passport in Tripureshwor, Kathmandu. Post Photo: Keshav Thapa

 A worker pushes a wheelbarrow at a construction site in Kathmandu. Post Photo: Keshav Thapa

http://assets-cdn.ekantipur.com/images/the-kathmandu-post/miscellaneous/_KT_1340-26022019015951.jpg

A worker at a construction site in Kathmandu. Post Photo: Keshav Thapa

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Workers at the building construction site of the Department of Consular Service and Passport in Tripureshwor, Kathmandu. Post Photo: Keshav Thapa

Published: 26-02-2019 11:23

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