Accidents and deaths of construction workers due to improper facilities
By Srijita Sen
15th October 2019
Bangalore: Construction workers of the city are not provided with proper safety facilities which cause accidents and deaths.
The Building and Other Construction Workers Act states that providing safety nets, safety sheets and safety belts where it is required, is mandatory. As of 2016, there have been 1595 accidents and 31 accidental deaths, a report from Karnataka Labour department says.
One of the construction workers, Ramalinga said, “We don’t get hand gloves, safety belts or protection caps in small construction sites”. On being asked about the risks of working without this safety equipment, he said, “We have no other option other than working as we need the money”. Most of these laborers are immigrants, coming from different parts of the country like Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
However, the construction contractors placed a contradictory view when enquired about this.
“Basic things that we give are hand gloves, boots, safety belts, helmets. It (providing equipment to constructors of small buildings) also depends on how professional the builders are” said Asif, a local contractor.
The construction workers who are injured while working are liable for compensation under the provisions of the Worker’s Compensation Act, 1923. Contractors claim that the compensation they get depends on the accident and the type of work they were doing.
Experts are of the opinion that all these rules sketched out for the workers are only on paper as they are not properly implemented.
“More than 90% of the deaths occur due to fall from height. Safety nets, proper ropes, protection cap, gloves are some of the compulsory things that should be provided. Whether it is a small construction or big construction site, the safety measurements are supposed to be provided by the contractor but they don’t do it in case of small construction sites because construction cost will go up”, commented NP Samy, the president of Karnataka State Construction Workers Central Union.
Experts also commented that the safety of these workers should be the first priority, irrespective of the cost the builders bear. The situation can be regulated by increasing site inspections, especially in small construction areas.