7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

'Ban bicycles' call by envoy

A CALL has gone out to ban bicycles from main roads in Bahrain and improve construction site safety to reduce the number of deaths and injuries amongst expatriate workers.Employers should also ensure that workers undergo regular health checks and are not worked to the point of exhaustion, said the Bangladeshi Ambassador Ruhul Amin.

"Many workers, particularly free visa workers are used for (delivering) supplies," said Mr Amin.

"They are given or procure a bicycle and they ride it on highways.

"Two days ago I had a case of one Bangladeshi boy whose dead body is now lying at the Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) mortuary.

"He worked for some hotel and was knocked off his bike by a car. As the car hit his bicycle he was thrown onto the pavement and the right side of his head was smashed."

Mr Amin said cyclists were in constant danger on the country's fast and busy roads.

"My appeal is to ban bicycles, because Bahrain does not have a special path for them - maybe within small localities it can be allowed," he said.

"Whoever is seen with a bicycle should be removed from the road - not harassed," he said.

"They should make a law also making safety helmets mandatory.

"With the Bangladeshi boy of 18 or 19, if he had had a helmet, possibly he would have survived."

Safety standards at construction sites also need to be upgraded, said Mr Amin.

"Construction companies should put minimum safety requirements in place," he said.

"Even in a developing country like Bangladesh, we don't have people falling down from scaffolding.

"If you spend BD50 more, you could save a life.

"Imagine a worker from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or the Philippines. He is the only earning member of the family.

"He has maybe three brothers, two sisters; he has children, a wife. If he dies, what happens? They have no one to depend upon.

"I have spoken to some of the major industrial groups - there are some admirable industrial families - the Fakhros, the Almoayyeds. They provide adequate safety for workers in their workplaces. Many others do not."

Employers should also send their workers at least once a month for general health check ups, Mr Amin advocated.

"They (employers) should see that these people are not slaves, that you should not exhaust them to death. If a person is unable to contribute to work, please at least sack him, do not push him to death," he said.

"There are workers who simply die of exhaustion. A patient was diagnosed (at the embassy open house on Friday) with very high blood pressure and sugar.

"He is not fit for work, he is only fit for being in hospital but he is working and went back to work - he said 'I will be beaten if I don't go back."

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