Saturday, 22 June, 2024

Safety negligence causing deaths of construction workers

File Photo

By Nayak Paudel
Kathmandu, Jan. 30: Construction sector is thriving in Nepal with many small and large-scale constructions, from houses to mega-projects, moving forward in full pace and providing jobs to thousands.
But at the same time, negligence and lack of safety standards also makes construction a particularly risky industry for many workers to join. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than 2.78 million work-related deaths and 374 million non-fatal injuries are recorded annually around the world. A disproportionately high number of cases are recorded in the construction sector.
No such concrete data could be found looking at work-related deaths and injuries in Nepal.
Chapter 12 of Nepal’s Labour Act 2017 states occupational safety and workers’ health to be the responsibility of the employer. It further directs employers to provide safety equipment and training to their workers. However, the act and its provisions have not been implemented strictly although many people lose their lives while working in construction every year.
On January 23, Prem Magar, a 40-year-old construction worker fell from the second storey of an under-construction house in ward no. 6, Madhyapur Thimi Municipality, Bhaktapur, and sustained severe injuries.
Prem, a permanent resident of Kavrepalanchok, was rushed to Madhyapur Hospital by his co-workers. But he died on January 28 while undergoing treatment. Prem’s death was the third construction work-related death this month in Bhaktapur alone.
Earlier, on January 10, construction worker Dambar Magar, 35, had died after falling from the fifth storey of an under-construction house at ward no. 2, in Bhaktapur Municipality.
“Dambar, who hailed from Mahottari, fell suddenly while he was working on the brick railing outside the fifth storey,” reads the press statement that Metropolitan Police Range of Bhaktapur issued on the day of the accident.
Similarly, 40-year-old Ishwor Karki, a permanent resident of Ramechhap district, died after falling from a two storeyed house in Suryabinayak Municipality – 5 on January 6.
According to Bhaktapur Police, Ishwor fell when he was working on a steel railing. He was rushed to Madhyapur Hospital but died during treatment.
“In all three cases, there were no safety measures in place which would have prevented them from falling. The workers may feel it easy to work without safety equipment but accidents can happen without warning,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dipak Giri, spokesperson of the Metropolitan Police Range, Bhaktapur.
DSP Giri stressed that being negligent at work, especially construction and electrical works, endangered life and limb.
“Workers in large construction sites are provided with safety kits but those in small-scale constructions like houses do not receive such facilities. Thus, even a small mistake or misstep can lead to fatalities,” DSP Giri told The Rising Nepal.