x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Two detained over scaffolding fall as bodies identified

The chief of security and safety, and the technician responsible for installing scaffolds from Al Diyar general contracting are being held on suspicion of neglect.

ABU DHABI // Two senior building-site employees have been arrested on suspicion of negligence after a man died when scaffolding fell on top of him.

The construction worker was the fourth to die after scaffolding at sites in Abu Dhabi and Dubai collapsed amid high winds and rain last weekend. More than a dozen have been injured.

Officials blamed site managers, not the weather, for the accidents.

The fatal scaffolding collapse on Friday was the second in two days at a residential building under construction next to the Euro apartment hotel on Muroor Road in the capital.

The scaffolding fell from the sixth floor because it was not secured firmly enough and was bearing excessive weight, said Col Ibrahim Al Zaabi, head of Alshabiya police station.

“It led to the immediate death of a worker who was under it, and affected other workers with various injuries,” he said.

The injured, all from northern Asia, were taken to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City for treatment. Police did not identify the dead man.

The chief of security and safety and the technician responsible for installing scaffolds, both employed by Al Diyar General Contracting, are being questioned by police.

Abdulaziz Zurub, the head of health, safety and environment at Abu Dhabi Municipality, said the case would now be passed to the courts, and compensation would be paid to the family of the worker who died.

The municipality’s investigation is continuing and investigators met the contractors’ manager yesterday morning.

The Ministry of Labour said it would ensure compensation was paid and that the injured labourers received the necessary sick leave.

The construction site remains closed with police crime-scene tape blocking parking spaces and entrances to a neighbouring building.

Work on the nearly completed building where the accident happened will not resume until the investigation is complete.

Mr Zurub said the municipality recorded 29 construction accidents last year and 10 deaths.

“In comparison to the number of construction sites here, the number is relatively low,” he said. “We still want it to be less. We try to make people more aware of health and safety – but accidents are hard to avoid completely.”

Col Al Zaabi said it was important for firms to stick to safety procedures and to ensure all ladders and scaffolding were firmly secured, and that they undergo regular maintenance.

He said it was vital that all sites have a chief of security and safety present at all times.

In Dubai, three people died as a result of a scaffolding collapse at Dubailand on the Dubai-Al Ain road on Saturday morning.

Mohammed Javed Jafar Pawte, 30, from Rajasthan, and Fajlul Kareem Abdul Ghani, from Bangladesh, died at the scene. Siraj Mia, also from Bangladesh, died at Rashid Hospital the following day.

There were 200 labourers on site when the accident happened. The site engineer and labour supervisor were charged on Sunday with criminal negligence.

Irfan Pawte, a cousin of Mohammed Pawte, said his family has been informed about the death. “I did not have courage to tell the family that he is no more,” Mr Pawte said. “I told my uncle first and they informed the family. They are devastated.

“We used to sleep opposite to each other in the same room and share our problems. I was the one who brought him to the UAE to work here. I don’t know what will I answer to the family.”

Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority, which is responsible for the building where the accident happened, offered its sympathy and condolence yesterday to the families of the victims.

“Relevant authorities in Dubai are investigating reasons for the occurrence and we are closely working with them in this regard,” the authority said.

Work is suspended at the site as the investigations continue.

frahman@thenational.ae

osalem@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting by Jen Thomas