More than 80 people were injured in separate incidents at garment industry factories in India and Bangladesh over the course of several days recently. On Monday, 33 people sustained injuries following an explosion at a small embroidery factory in the Indian state of Gujarat, about 685 miles southwest of New Delhi.
Police reported that a gas cylinder used for cooking generated the blast. The majority of the victims were burned, while others were hurt by flying debris, officials said, with one person hospitalized in serious condition. Of the injured, most were workers, but some were nearby residents who had rushed inside the building after hearing the explosion.
Last week, 50 workers were injured while attempting to flee from a seven-story apparel factory near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. The workers evacuated in a panic after seeing cracks in the building and feeling the structure shaking, according to media reports. Workers said they first felt the building shaking on May 6. The laborers – among the lowest paid garment workers in the world – refused to continue and left the NAFA Apparels facility, but they were told to return the following day, according to the Dhaka Tribune. When the shaking reportedly resumed and cracks appeared, workers fled in haste, with injuries occurring in the melee. Nonetheless, they subsequently returned to the factory.
“We have invited engineers to examine the cracks,” Shahriar Mahmud, deputy general manager of the factory, told the Dhaka Tribune. “They found nothing wrong. The workers join their regular work in the evening.”
Angst among workers in Bangladesh stems from last year's much-publicized tragedy, when more than 1,100 Bangladeshis died in the collapse of Rana Plaza, a garment factory in the Dhaka District. Police have said Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana will be charged with murder.