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

Five hurt in fall at building site

FIVE Bangladeshis were injured yesterday after falling from a suspended platform at a construction site in Juffair.

Police said the men, aged between 24 and 40, suffered minor injuries to their hips and legs following a fall from "a winch".

An eyewitness told the GDN the site, near the Ramee Palace Hotel, was shut down following the accident and that a 10-foot high fence surrounding the site had also collapsed.

Three people have already died in worksite accidents this year and Migrant Workers Protection Society chairwoman Marietta Dias said she was growing increasingly concerned about the problem.

"We have had problems in this area for several years," she said.

"Obviously, we can't know for sure how rigorously safety measures are being enforced on work sites, but we do know that sometimes there is reluctance on the part of the worker to use safety equipment - that doesn't mean that we should not keep at it, however, and explain to them what could happen if they meet with an accident."

Ms Dias called for greater transparency in the way employers are investigated following an accident and renewed her society's plea for sponsors to compensate the victims.

"Noises are made as soon as an accident takes place, but we often have no idea what action has been taken against an employer," she said.

"Most importantly - in the case of death or severe injury - what is the government doing to get compensation for these people?

"Their injuries are so severe sometimes that they can never work again. Sponsors must take responsibility for this."

Although certain employers do offer support in times of crisis, Ms Dias said the overall picture left her feeling "very disappointed".

"This is a subject we care very deeply about. Compensation needs to be paid," she said.

Just last month, a 31-year-old Bangladeshi labourer was killed on a worksite in Umm Al Hassam after a plank fell on his head.

Identified only as Basar, he is one of three recorded worksite fatalities this year.

At least 25 people died as a result of worksite accidents last year.

Ms Dias thinks better health and safety education is key to reducing the number of deaths and injuries.

"We are not saying it is always the fault of the sponsor or the employer," she said.

"But it is their responsibility to keep explaining to their workers why safety is important.

"I am sure if videos were shown that highlighted what can happen without safety measures then the chances of people getting hurt will be lessened. "It should not just be taken for granted." [email protected]

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