x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Owner and supervisor jailed for worker's death

The latest hearing was the fifth time the case was heard. It originally went to the Ajman Court of First Instance, then the Ajman Appeals Court, then to the Federal Supreme Court, back to appeals and back to the Supreme Court.

ABU DHABI // A building-site supervisor and a construction company owner in Ajman have been sentenced to three months' jail for negligence after a labourer died when the scaffolding on which he was standing fell.

The Federal Supreme Court also ordered two contractors to pay blood money of Dh200,000.

The latest hearing was the fifth time the case was heard. It originally went to the Ajman Court of First Instance, then the Ajman Appeals Court, then to the Federal Supreme Court, back to appeals and back to the Supreme Court.

Public prosecutors had charged the two, and another contractor, with causing the labourer's death by failing to provide safety tools, a safety belt or a helmet.

The Court of First Instance sentenced the three men to three months in prison and a Dh3,000 fine, while ordering both companies to pay the blood money.

The Ajman Appeals Court then acquitted one of the contractors and the supervisor, and reduced the sentence of the second contractor to a Dh2,000 fine, as well as paying the blood money.

But the Federal Supreme Court sent the case to be reheard for a second appeal.

It reinstated the guilty verdicts, fining each defendant Dh3,000 and ordering both contractors to pay the blood money.

One of the defendants was still unsatisfied and appealed again to the Federal Supreme Court, arguing that he was not responsible for the scaffolding.

The court was presented with an expert report that found the scaffolding did not fall because it was faulty, but because of a lack of safety measures in setting it up and attaching it to the building.

Witnesses said that it had been detached from the building so that a lorry could gain access.

But when the scaffolding was set up again, it was not properly secured.

The court was not convinced, however, and found that since the labourers did not have any safety equipment, both contractors should be held responsible.

The labourers were also unsupervised and no safety precautions were in place.

The supervisor had admitted that the company did not have safety measures in place, saying he had asked for the measures but the company had not provided them.

hdajani@thenational.ae