Ensuring safe working environment for rice mill workers

Parvin Khatun has worked in Satkhira’s Subodh Rice Husking Mill for almost six years. Like her female co-workers, she works mostly in the Chatal (paddy drying yard). An ordinary working day can include drying paddy by spreading it in the yard, frequently rolling or moving it, gathering it after drying, paddy threshing or steaming. One shift is usually 8 hours long, however during peak season it can stretch to twelve hours.

An Improved Rice Parboiling System was installed at the mill in 2015. According to Parvin, this improved the working environment significantly. The heat released from the process has decreased, making work less exhausting. Previously the high amount of smoke caused many workers to get sick, now the environment is much cleaner. The change in air quality can be clearly felt, she says - even the surrounding trees have started bearing fruit again. The owner has also given them masks and gloves to ensure that they are protected during work.

Before entering the mill, she worked in a brick kiln. According to her, life in Subodh Husking Mill today is a thousand times better than those brick kiln days.

The clean smoke free environment ensured by use of IRPS is much healthier for the young children. Parvin feels secure to raise her children here. The owner and his wife try their best to ensure their comfort. Is the work hard? Yes, Parvin nods. Working under the hot sun for a whole day often becomes gruelling. Parvin is not daunted by hard work. She is prepared to work as hard as needed as long as she feels safe. The opportunity to work in a respectful, clean and safe environment enables her to plan a better future for her children.