x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Six-month sentences for workers in factory deaths

Three men involved in the death of two workers and the injury of five more after they were splashed with molten metal from a furnace at a steel factory have been given suspended jail terms.

DUBAI// Three men involved in the death of two workers and the injury of five more after they were splashed with molten metal from a furnace at a Jebel Ali steel factory were given suspended jail terms by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours.

SH, 47, MA, 41, and DK, 42, all from India, were each sentenced to six months in prison, suspended, on charges of causing the deaths and injuries to the workers by failing to provide the victims with safety equipment while working at the factory.

The defendants caused the deaths of Indian nationals FP, 28, and PD, 30 by allowing them to work in a dangerous area without ensuring they were wearing safety suits and without providing them with the proper supervision.

They also caused injuries to SN, 47, SS, 22, AJ, 37, RS, 38, and SK, 24, who were working with the deceased on the day of the incident but escaped serious injury as they were further from the furnace door.

The court fined the three defendants a total of Dh210,000 and ordered them to pay compensation to the families of the victims.

Following the accident on November 8, 2010, the factory's manager signed an undertaking to introduce more safety procedures and to install curtain walls around each furnace to confine accidents.

Defendant DK, a furnace operator, said that the furnace was in use 24 hours a day. Around 1am on the day of the incident workers were loading the furnace as others cleaned the area surrounding it.

He said a piece of steel flew into the air and fell into the furnace causing the molten metal to splash onto the victims.

DK said he was not guilty of the charge and that what happened was an accident.

SH said while a crane operator was pouring metal scrap into the furnace, the molten steel splashed onto the workers. About 200kg of steel scrap was loaded into the furnace in every operation.

The men were rushed to Rashid Hospital where two died and the rest suffered burns of between 8 and 10 per cent to their heads, arms, abdomens, backs, chests, and feet. The medical report in the case file said the burns to the injured men were of first and second-degrees and caused no permanent disability.

The cause of the accident was not identified in records but the injured workers attributed it to extreme pressure and an overload in the furnace.

salamir@thenational.ae