x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

'Negligence' led to death of construction site hero

At a construction site where a man died rescuing colleagues this month, the safety officer was on sick leave and the engineer appointed in his absence was not qualified for the job, a municipality official said.

ABU DHABI // The safety officer at a building site where a man died trying to rescue his colleagues was on sick leave and his replacement was not qualified for the job, a municipality official said.

"Negligence of the safety measures caused this accident," Abdulaziz Zurub, the municipality's manager of health, safety and environment, said yesterday.

The supervisor who died, Padmanabhan Nair, 40, from Kerala, was hailed a hero after he and two other men climbed into an empty water tank this month to find out why a worker was not responding to calls.

All four men passed out.

The municipality's preliminary investigation into the December 13 incident on Muroor Road is continuing. An initial review found that a "quality engineer" had been designated to watch over safety while the regular safety officer was away, Mr Zurub said.

"The quality engineer, he did not have the experience to control safety on the ground," he said.

The head of Asqalan, the contractor for the site, did not return a telephone call. According to a report obtained from Asqalan, the first worker had entered the tank to waterproof it. Waterproofing materials can emit toxic fumes.

From the initial review, it appears that the rescuers entered the tank "without any precautions", Mr Zurub said.

Ayman Ali, the site project manager, declined to comment.

Mr Nair is survived by a wife and two children in India.

vnereim@thenational.ae