How are the surviving workers of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh doing: quality of life, participation restriction, income and occupation

Disabil Rehabil. 2021 Feb;43(3):393-399. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2019.1626494. Epub 2019 Jun 18.


Purpose: On April 24, 2013 a building called "Rana Plaza" that housed several garment factories collapsed in Bangladesh. Around 1134 people died and more than 2500 sustained serious injuries. This study evaluates the change in income and occupation of the Rana Plaza survivors as well as their level of community participation and quality of life two years after the incident. It also aimed to gain insight into these survivors' success or failure in economic reintegration.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey collected data from the injured garment workers using convenience sampling method. The Short Form 36 Items Questionnaire measured their quality of life, and the Participation Scale measured their community participation restriction level. Poor economic reintegration was defined when a survivor was not working or had an income less than 3000 Taka [US$36]/month.

Results: Data were collected from 338 Rana Plaza survivors all of who were previously garment workers. Their income decreased substantially after the disaster. The majority were now engaged in earning livelihood from retail shop management and animal husbandry. A total of 124 survivors (36.6%) were found to be poorly economically reintegrated; females were found to be at greater odds (twice) of poor economic reintegration than males. Those with severe participation restriction scores had four times greater odds and who reported moderate restriction had two times greater odds of poor economic reintegration compared to those with no restriction.

Conclusions: Survivors of Rana Plaza factory disaster were facing many health and economic challenges two years after the event. Implications for rehabilitation Rehabilitation service providers should document and describe the health status correctly to understand the burden and monitor the effectiveness of their intervention. Government needs to develop and strengthen rehabilitation capacity as more workers will be injured as the country rapidly industrializes. Factory owners should create light duty work opportunities and provide other workplace modification for injured workers to re-enter the workforce.

Keywords: Bangladesh; garment workers; injury; quality of life; rehabilitation; reintegration.

MeSH terms

  • Bangladesh
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Occupations*
  • Quality of Life*