Friday, January 30, 2009

No helmets, no gloves, no safety net...

No helmets, no gloves, no safety net...
It’s a Rs 6,400-crore project but those on whose toil the Metro Rail is coming up expose themselves to mortal danger everyday in the absence of even minimal safety gear

Barely hours before a roof collapse at a Metro Rail construction site at Mahalakshmipuram on Thursday, a Bangalore Mirror team visited another construction spot in the vicinity, near the Chord Road-Modi Road junction, and found that safety measures remained only on paper. There were around 25 labourers at the construction spot, all sans any protective gear — and this despite Metro Rail tender requirements clearly specifying that demolition and dismantling of buildings identified for acquisition, and all construction work, should be carried out in accordance with the standard safety measures.
The labourers were using tools like wire saws, wall saws and floor saw machines for cutting the RCC beams and roof slabs. They were standing at the floor edge while hammering the side walls. Shockingly, none of them was provided with a helmet or boots, and neither was there any safety net to break a fall.
When we brought these points to the notice of Raful, supervisor with the West Bengal-based company to whom the demolition work had been outsourced, he nonchalantly said the company had demolished “much taller” buildings without using any safety equipment. Even more incredibly, he added, “There is no need of any such safety equipment as all our labourers are professionals. They just look for a hammer and a drilling machine to demolish a building and are not interested in safeguarding themselves.”
P N Nayak, Chief Engineer, BMRCL, said it is an absolute must for labourers hired for demolition work to wear safety gear. He said he was unaware of the demolition activity we had witnessed, but added that he would bring it to the notice of the officials concerned. Nayak went on to say that on all his inspection visits, the labourers were found wearing the specified safety gear. But he admitted that it was difficult to monitor what labourers were wearing everyday.
Another BMRCL official said that workers employed in demolition work should be provided with helmets, safety boots, protective clothing, face shields, hearing protection devices, safety belts, gloves and masks to block out dust or chemicals.


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