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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Indian expat in Qatar killed in hospital construction site accident

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

Investigators in Qatar are trying to determine what caused the wall of an excavation trench to collapse at a work site at Hamad Medical City yesterday, killing one man and injuring two others.

Four Indian nationals working for Al-Balagh Trading & Contracting were in the trench, which was roughly two meters deep, when the incident occurred, a divisional manager at the company told Doha News.

One man died at the scene after the soil fell on him, while two others were taken to Hamad Hospital for treatment, Ashghal said in a statement on Monday evening.

Hamad Medical City simulation center rendering
Hamad Medical City simulation center rendering

Trenches are commonly dug on construction sites to hold underground electrical wires or water and sewer pipes that would be connected to a new building.

The workers were constructing a new medical simulation center, located off Ahmed Bin Ali Street, in the vicinity of C-Ring and Al-Rayyan roads.

On its website, Al-Balagh said that the 13,000-square-meter educational facility is expected to contain classrooms, an auditorium and mock examination and operating rooms.

Ashghal – which is overseeing the simulation center project – said it would examine the safety measures that were in place and apologized for the incident:

“Ashghal is extremely sorry for this tragic accident, and it took immediate action when the accident happened as it stopped work on project site and started an extensive investigation from Ashghal’s side to know the reasons and identify the responsible parties and hold them accountable in case there was any failure from their side.

All safety procedures implemented on site by the project contractor and the project consultant will be reviewed, and Ashghal will take any necessary actions in this regards.”

Safety questions

It’s not known why the trench collapsed, or which safety measures were in place yesterday at the job site.

Internationally, including in the US, some form of protective measures – such as supports to prevent cave-ins – are required when trenches deeper than 1.5m are being dug.

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

Noting that a cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car, the US Labor Department calls an unprotected trench “an early grave.”

Human rights organizations have previously criticized the safety conditions on development sites in Qatar.

In its 2013 report on the country’s construction sector, Amnesty International documented several shortcomings, such as the failure of some companies to provide workers with helmets, and concluded:

“There is evidence that employers in the construction industry fail to protect health and safety … the fact that some employers do not appear to be taking their health and safety responsibilities seriously is clearly of great concern given the available data about incidences of serious occupational injury, which are the second leading cause of trauma admissions at Hamad General Hospital after major vehicle crashes.”

However, some employees involved in expanding HMC’s campus described a strong culture of safety on this particular job site.

Cheryl Mariano, a subcontractor working on a different part of the property, said she and her colleagues are instructed to take necessary precautions on a daily basis.

 

“This (accident) was not expected,” she told Doha News. “No one is allowed to work without a safety officer on site. From the smallest things to the biggest issue, we as subcontractors are always reminded of safety.”

Thoughts?

21 COMMENTS

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Bloodymer Zkizzoid
Bloodymer Zkizzoid
6 years ago

Safety First! Yes, but you can’t predict accident when it will strike.

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago

Yes, but this is common activity whose hazards are well understood. This was very preventable and a tragic waste of life.

RabanilloCarlo
RabanilloCarlo
6 years ago

Accidents are avoidable. Forget the alibis.

Mobster
Mobster
6 years ago

The safety culture is questionable!
Safety Officers are not responsible for safety…line management is.

Bo
Bo
6 years ago
Reply to  Mobster

Wrong – EVERYONE is responsible for safety – from the employee, to the line manager, to the safety officer, to the director of the company.
The question in this case is who is culpable for this incident?

p.s. you were right about safety being questionable

Moustafa Rabie
Moustafa Rabie
6 years ago

Unfortunately here in Qatar most of the local companies using safety
first as a slogan only in a nice board at the project front wall but no
commitment or proper risk assessment .

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago
Reply to  Moustafa Rabie

Exactly. At most of this places HSE policies and Risk management is geared towards achieving certification and for giving a nice and rosy picture of the organization but in reality the practices followed at their worksites is something they would not like to talk about or others to see. The guys at the top, managers, safety officers, etc should get out from their offices once in a while and see that the safety practices for which they have been certified are being followed and also the companies which certify this organizations should carry out surprise checks and not wait till the next audit to verify that the safety practices are being followed.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  Moustafa Rabie

how true ! well said

Gokul
Gokul
6 years ago

It is no secret that authorities in most of the countries are reactive rather than proactive. The difference between those two being the lives of people(mostly underprivileged section of society) doesn’t seem to affect them a lot.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

Safety First signs are seen at all sights around town, safe working practices, use of standards, etc. are not evenly employed. Having a trench cave in on people in the trench, as the article points out, is 99% unavoidable if they follow proper safety standards – but when you don’t have any, a sign and a green helmet should be sufficient – right? Workers should be educated to know what a safe work practice is and is not, and be empowered to stop work if their safety is in danger. This is common practice in countries that have strong regulatory environments – which should be a criteria being addressed in Qatar at the highest levels. In every sector, and not just for safety, and in all aspects of life, from driving to working conditions – there is a complete lack of either regulations or proper enforcement or both.

yesjay
yesjay
6 years ago

When it comes to safety, there is no such limit as too much, but there can be ample room for too less!

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago

Just like the people killed in the septic tank last year, the hazards of digging unsecured trenches are well understood as are the safety precautions that need to be applied. Unfortunately accidents like this are commonplace around the world (including the UK and US) which is why firm regulation is required with the negligent being brought to justice.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

My experience of major contractors in Qatar is that they do put a lot of effort into H&S when working on government projects, and some have an excellent safety record. It’s usually the smaller local contractors working on private development schemes and try to cut corners that are the problem.

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

I agree completely. It also takes vigilant supervision, many of the workers are not aware of risks and dangers. A friend spent many hours trying to convince works to wear a safety harness, understand it, put it on correctly, what it was for “its to save you”. But they were reluctant and didn’t understand, soon as he back was turned they would take it off. It was then punishable by fine if they took it off. It is of course not their fault but sometimes we take for granted that many expats have grown up in zealous safety cultures. This is horrible I hope Ashghal clamp down on their contractors. This is very acheivable with well written works contracts.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

This just sums up how much value Qatar places on human life…..”Ashghal is extremely sorry for this tragic accident, and it took immediate action when the accident happened as it stopped work on project site “…..extremely sorry because it stopped work on project site? No mention of the life lost, the family of him or those injured….the prosecution rests!

KK
KK
6 years ago

yep, all companies boost HSE and also social responsibility…. in theory.

Sabre
Sabre
6 years ago

Inna lillahi raji3oen. What a loss. It will be a dark day for his family and friends to hears this awful news. Supposed they are not here, that makes it even worse. I wish them all a lot of patience.

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago

My condolences to the family of the worker who died. Hope they get adequately compensated for life lost. At least in this case would like to see someone go to jail for criminal negligence.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

This is absolutely horrible, I wonder if anyone of the managers thought about the fear he must of felt even for a second when he was buried alive or how his family not only will be mourning but worrying about how they will survive. I wonder if they imagined if it was them who were leaving their family behind. Would they fight for a proper investigation or for better compensation? The greatest tragedy is not the lack of safety but the inequality in the value of human life we see time and time again.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

No, as I’ve quoted them, they are only concerned about the stop work of the project as a result of some inconsiderate slave dying!

Mohammad Yunus
Mohammad Yunus
6 years ago

Here in Qatar contractor, consultant and client only
thinking that PPE is the first resource for control any kind of major or fatal accident
and good slogans, nice safety signs board but fact is this PPE is last resource
to control the accident. Contractor want to save the money, consultant only
busy in creating a problem and client want to complete the project as soon as
possible with less amount. Client and consultant must be highly these control
measures to control the major or fatal accident at project.

Eliminate, substitute, isolate, engineering control, admiration
control and Personal Protection Equipment and must be force to contractor to
implement those control measure on site.

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