Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Building better standards

The current safety standards at construction sites were recently subjected to harsh criticism by a top level UK-based construction union boss.

“This is an appalling loss of life, there can be no excuse for this level of fatalities, especially given the billions of pounds being poured into construction projects in Dubai,” said Alan Ritchie, general secretary of UK-based UCATT, one of the largest construction unions in Europe.

This comes as news surfaces of heat-related fatalities not being recorded on official death registers. An Abu Dhabi-based doctor details his findings.

When he went through the data [at the Indian Embassy] he noticed that heatstroke was not mentioned as a cause of death in any of the certificates he saw. He said: “I’m sure that some of them must have died of heat stroke. We saw the data for three or four years and not one case of heat stroke. Isn’t that a little strange? “I’m not saying that all of the deaths are due to heat stroke, but is it possible that all the workers are dying of heart attacks?”

However, the weather is not the only thing to blame for their deaths. Tales of mistreatment and delayed salaries regularly make the headlines of 7Days and the like, often sending workers over the edge. The suicide note of one such labourer,who had to borrow money to buy a stamp for his letter wrote:

I have been made to work without any money for months. Now, for a month I’ve been suffering from a constant headache and wanted to visit a doctor to examine my condition. I asked my camp boss for AED50 ($14) but he refused and told me to get back to work. After my death I want the company to pay all my salary dues to my family and repay the financial debt my family has incurred because of them.
Listed on BlogShares