Role of chemical industry in fire safety management in Bangladesh: A case study in old town Dhaka
AuthorAnam, Md. Khairul
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Rapid urbanization and unplanned city planning has become a genuine issue in recent decades. The situation is much worse in the Old Dhaka area of Dhaka South City Corporation. Despite of having narrow road, high population density, faulty city planning, illegal land acquisition, it is a commercially key area where no demarcation is seen among the residential, commercial, and industrial area. Corruption, nepotism, and absence of proper regulatory mechanism open the door for non-compliance of fire safety rules in the chemical industries of Old Dhaka and every year a huge loss of lives and financial assets are seen due to frequent fire incident. The purpose of this research was to explore the knowledge of fire safety management among chemical industry workers and authorities, evaluate the existing fire hazard management system in the chemical industries and make a substantial addition to academia by investigating the challenges in implementing a proper fire safety management system in chemical industries and recommend solution for them. This study used mixed approaches to collect data, where quantitative data was collected through interviewer administrated questionnaire survey among purposively selected 157 participants and qualitative data were collected through 10 KIIs and three focus group discussions. The study results show that the overall knowledge of employees on fire safety is 68.20%, while the overall compliance of industries is 64.28%. High population density near industrial area, inadequate supply firefighting equipment, corruption, irregular monitoring to industry compliance by the respective authority and fragile water & electricity connection contribute to the non-compliance with the industry building code for the chemical industries. It leads to elevated risk of industrial accidents in Dhaka South City Corporation causing unbearable losses of human lives and properties every year. By shifting chemical industries outside of Dhaka City and raising awareness among the owners and employees in these industries, fire incidents can be reduced. To reduce the risk of fire and property damage in the chemical industrial region, this study recommends raising awareness among workers and owners, effective government policies, financial assistance from the government, and compliance with the RAJUK building code. Fire safety can be made more affordable and high-quality for the public by adding full-time and reserve firefighters and including the chemical sector in fire safety management through contracts and subscriptions; the government can then reduce the enormous costs associated with fire incidents.