The Building and Wood Workers International is alarmed by the tragic death of Juanito B. Pardillo – a constructon worker from the Philippines who died on his job at at a Metro rail project in Doha, Qatar on February 28.
“Instead of celebrating his 38th birthday with family and friends back home on March 8, Juanito now will return to his home town in a coffin. To make matters worse, it took close to a week for the public to be aware of this fatal accident and this was only done through public media,” said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the BWI.
He continued, “To this date, we still do not have exact details of the accident. It is imperative that the Qatari government immediately conduct an independent and transparent investigation and ensure that those who are responsible be held accountable for this tragic accident. In addition, we call on the for just compensation to Pardillo’s family as well as full workers compensation be granted to the four injured workers.”
According to limited available press reports, Pardillo along with other workers were allowed to excavate and dig the tunnel amidst rain showers at that time. Although the company policy state that tunnel work must temporarily stop when the weather is not favourable including while it is raining, it appears that the work was hastily continued. Unfortunately, this resulted in the cave-in claiming one life and injuries to four workers. Neither the company nor the authorities released the identities and nationalities of the said victims.
The construction project is spearheaded by the contractor QDVC — a partner to French Vinci Construction, that will connect Al Wakrah and Mshereib area. The company claimed to employ more than 18,000 workers last year.
The BWI has long been involved in advocating Qatari government to adopt and implement robust policy guidelines on occupational safety and health to guarantee safety working conditions for migrant construction workers employed in infrastructure related project like Metro Rail with the FIFA World Cup 2020.
“This is simply unacceptable. Work site accidents are identifiable and therefore can be controlled. We are eager to get a copy of the official accident report and if there was an investigation to determine whether significant safe measures had been placed and if workers were briefed on possible hazards of that particular work. These are all standard operating procedures”, said Ambet Yuson.
”The Philippine embassy should also press the government to secure a copy of the onsite accident report and given access to do its joint inspection. It is unacceptable for the QDVC not to publicly disclose formal accident report. The QDVC should coordinate with the Philippine Embassy to courageously get in touch with the victim’s family to disclose how it will repatriate the body and offer just compensation.”