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Friday, July 30, 2021

Embassy: Egyptian construction worker dies on Qatar site

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The Bin Mahmoud construction site where neighbors said a man died yesterday.
The Bin Mahmoud construction site where neighbors said a man died yesterday.

With reporting by Riham Sheble

A man in his mid-20s died yesterday when a wall at a construction site in Bin Mahmoud fell on him, the Egyptian Embassy in Qatar has said.

Another Egyptian national was injured in the incident and was expected to be released from hospital later today, labour counsellor Yasir Said told Doha News.

He said it was not immediately clear what company the men worked for, as many construction firms use subcontractors and labor supply firms to help complete their projects.

There was no activity today at the site of an under-construction eight-floor residential building on Zuair Bin Amr St., between Al Quds St. and Al Jazeera St.

The lead contractor on that project, International Dec. & Cont. Co., declined to comment when contacted by Doha News. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Administrative Development and Labor and Social Affairs could not be reached.

Construction safety

It’s not known what caused Saturday’s incident.

Qatar’s construction industry has a mixed safety record. While human rights experts say many large multinational firms ensure their employees receive proper training and wear protective equipment, Amnesty International has documented cases of some smaller firms failing to provide workers with helmets or forcing them to purchase their own safety gloves.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In recent months, Qatar’s courts have shown a willingness to criminally prosecute construction firms for negligence and involuntary manslaughter.

In a cluster of cases in late 2015, the courts handed down fines totalling more than a million riyals in separate cases following five unrelated trials involving deaths of construction workers.

In a previous interview, Amnesty researcher Mustafa Qadri told Doha News that consistently prosecuting negligent construction firms would likely cause the sector to take safety much more seriously.

He argued that businesses in the Gulf state avoid crossing legal “red lines” when they know regulations are strictly enforced.

“When Qatar applies the law, people don’t flout the law,” Qadri said.

However, he said there should be detailed and open reporting on workplace injuries and deaths so experts can identify solutions to prevent such incidents from happening in the first place.

There are believed to be 375 government labor inspectors – up from 150 in 2013 – overseeing a construction sector that employs hundreds of thousands of expats.

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