09 November, 2007

Seven people killed in construction accident at Dubai Marina

News courtesy of Gulf News

"Dubai: Seven people have been killed in a construction accident in Dubai Marina.

20 people have been injured in the accident, which happened at 6.20pm on Thursday evening.

It is believed the accident happened when scaffolding on a bridge under construction on the Al Suffouh Road collapsed.

Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board of the Roads and Transport Authority told Dubai TV the accident was caused by human error when steel rods were wrongly loaded.

Jamal Al Merri, deputy commandant of Dubai Police told Gulf News: "The accident happened at 6.20pm. The pillar collapsed killing seven people instantly and injuring 24, according to preliminary information.

"There are no workers under the rubble. All other workers have been accounted for."

30 comments:

Editor said...

The company should pay at least blood money to their families, if not larger compensations.

http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL08313837

Anonymous said...

Too much too soon, and the consequence is tragedy !! How many more have to give their lives, in Dubai's race to biggest, largest and tallest !! Saftey and quality is compromised by main and sub contractors, and poor labourers are just a number whilst living or dead - and doest not mean anything to investors, who balantly dispaly their greed in treatment of these labourers. May God save all the living souls - AMEN.

Anonymous said...

collapse is a very exaggerated word.

Anonymous said...

Its a human error....has nothing to do with quality and all that BS.

Anonymous said...

Human Error = Victim has no money.

BuJ said...

May their souls rest in peace, and may lessons be learnt and implemented for the safety of all.

BuJ said...

Before people get all excited and start to bad-mouth the UAE, The middle east, the arabs, the iranians and all muslims.. check this out:

http://gulfnews.com/nation/Police_and_The_Courts/10166268.html

The company responsible has given 10 years' pay to every victim's families. This still within 24 hrs of the unfortunate incident. I'm sure no one will get less than what they deserve

Anonymous said...

To BUJ
AED 600 X 12 months = AED 7200 X 10 years = TOTAL AED 72,000 - so its a bad proposition, because if they get hit by an automobile, they get double of this amount - tough !!!!! Do not know how much your life is worth - want to to put a price on it ???

SevenSummits said...

Unfortunately the promise of financial compensation will be just as rhetoric as “climate initiatives”, “the acceptance of human rights groups” and whatever else is just meant as a cosmetic promotion approach to maintain a certain glittering image. Not that the pledge to compensation in developing countries (for instance regarding compensation payments for the displaced as a result of large dam projects) is not often merely rhetoric and ends up being subjected to corruption and mismanagement, but in respect to the UAE the question will go a little further and can be regarded as a general “crimes against humanity” issue. (BTW – that fact just makes it my business!) What is the value of a “foreign live” in the UAE? You can answer that question by yourself and sorry guys, it does not really depend on nationality – “foreign” is quite sufficient!

If we would start adding up the death toll alone in 2007 – starting from people that committed suicide out of despair, people that died of heatstroke, in car accidents with no safety controls, being squashed on roads that they needed to cross without any options, burnt alive because they were locked in, death of diseases as a result of insufficient access to clean water and sanitation, careless medical supervision (e.g. meningitis) and countless tired and overworked construction workers, taxi drivers, etc. – we don’t even want to take a further look at those that are still alive, starting from little Alex to those abused maids (kept like slaves in the 21st century)

Strange enough that every time someone is trying to provide a thoroughgoing critique of what is wrong with UAE society, there will be a flood of self-congratulatory proclamations (we won a price for our prisons – see: UAE Prisons, examples of militant calls for xenophobia, accusations of providing unfounded assumptions, the usual claims of victimization by outside villains (the blame game!) and my personal favorite “pointing a finger at the industrialized countries” as a simple and just so obvious method to divert attention.

Conclusion: We are looking at a subculture that vehemently avoids investigating its development dilemma and refuses to learn from different cultures - a society that continuously blames all its problems on others.

Our princess i*maginate obviously enjoys reminding me of the German past – as in mentioning the term “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”, which is a German composite word that simply describes the process of dealing with historical events. What she does not mention is the fact that I already carefully responded to her in respect to this special terminology a long time ago and secondly she – just as many others – seem to forget that successful societies are neither ashamed nor harmed by exposing their problems (even those of the past) and making changes.

So while we are at it, how about googling the term “Extermination through labor” –
can anyone draw a comparison from present day UAE to the past? How about if Germans would claim that all those casualties where just unfortunate accidents and not our fault – after all we paid compensation! Better even let us find someone else to blame – maybe the US (Hollywood) for making all those “inconvenient truth” films? Not a good idea? Nooooooo …..

We are not on a guilt trip, but we know how to accept that we have made terrible mistakes (the worst in human history) and learned a lesson from it! There is nobody to blame accept us and especially all those that conveniently looked the other way – something like this should never happen again – so why is it happening in the UAE in 2007?

Who is not equally fed up of hearing all those concerns? Everything that is done to help other human beings is organized by foreigners, even reading the “Dubai (S)Cares” movement will depend on expatriates! (???) We keep on hearing “Palestine” – fair enough – but how many UAE nationals are actually in those Palestinian territories to provide physical help to those people??? While so many young people are hanging around with nothing to do! In comparison how many British, US, Germans, Swiss, Austrians, etc. are doing voluntary service over there – risking their lives for “very often only being hated”? Just dishing out cash (that you never really earned in the first place!!) to support further killing is not help, but just carelessness in the highest degree … - just as with those “eradicated” in the accident.

A T-Shirt or bumper sticker saying “Humanitarianism is overrated” should make a bestseller in the UAE.

Yet, let us just give our young bloggers – like BuJ and i*maginate - the benefit of the doubt that they still believe in all this junk being brainwashed into them – just as all young students in the US and the EU want to solve the poverty in Africa through some miraculous solutions, ignoring all those framework impediments in delightful naivety!
Time will solve that - trust me :- )

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Driving through Marina on daily basis I often wonder what would happen if there was some big accident, or building on fire. My worries were confirmed on the night of the accident, when I arrived to the crossroad near Mina Seyahi Hotel. Even though it was 2 hours after the accident, the police and civil defence were there “controlling” the traffic, it took 12 min for the ambulance just to get through the intersection. I’m afraid that many more people will die, not only because of the accidents but because they can not get help in time.

nick said...

Unfortunately accidents like this happen all too often here.
Before you simply blame the contractors though for Health and Safety violations and resultant casualties you should remember that compliance with H&S regulations is generally a statutory requirement imposed by the state.
Contractors will only do as much as they have to. Regulations are lax, and the municipality has only about 240 inspectors who have to monitor ALL construction sites in Dubai - clearly not enough.
Ultimately is the remit of the state to ensure health and safety of its residents.

nick said...

Sevensummits,

Whilst I agree with the succus of what you say I think you are throwing out the baby with the water here. Dont let your general agenda cloud your vision.

You have to differentiate between systemic abuse, or at the least ill treatment of labourers or domestic staff, and accidents due to negligence.

As I explained above ^ accidents like this fall clearly in the latter category.

Compensation will be paid as this is a legal requirement. There is a sliding scale to assess compensations which purely concerns the courts and insurance companies.

Every contractor has to carry insurance to cover vicarious liabilities towards his employees.

Blood money is a different kettle of fish entirely.

BuJ said...

to anon that's too chicken to publish his name.. thanks for the grade 4 mathematics.. but it's fair to compensate based on salary.. just like banks look at salary when u get a mortgage or life insurance.. plus remember this money goes straight to the families in india and it'll be a great help to them there.. don't be negative and try to see the good side of things.

i*maginate said...

nick, I'm going. This page has been corrupted, yet again. ciao ;-)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
rosh said...

"Do not know how much your life is worth - want to to put a price on it ???"

Every soul values his/her live mate, it's quite invaluable personally. However, we have insurance policies, with deductions & max payouts, yeah?

An accident is an accident - yes it could have been avoidable, however, let's focus on better avoidance measures.

"Contractors will only do as much as they have to. Regulations are lax"

Very true! Nick - given the exposure/knowledge to ways of working in the UAE, could you perhaps share a few best practices which can be improved/implemented to avoid such tragedies into the future please? If you are not at liberty to debate, I withdraw my request.

SevenSummits said...

Nick, I totally agree with what you said, however I choose the more holistic approach on purpose and tried to not only focus on the construction industry, but the general picture. For me it is hard to differentiate between systemic abuse and accidents due to negligence, because they both fall into the greater “we don’t give a f***”” sphere.

BuJ has already formulated this very well on his post: I hope they find out the guys responsible. I hate it when these things happen coz they are not freak accidents, but very very very preventable because they are generally due to lax behavior and negligence rather than human error.

It does not really matter, if these accidents or diverse other tragic incidences happen in the construction industry or elsewhere … My work requires me to always search for explanations or let us rephrase that into “excuses” for all those tragedies happening around this world and in this case “sweet-talking” becomes a little tough. Trust me that I am fed up to the back teeth with the general situation and totally agree with almost everything that you said in the other post (you know exactly which one I mean!) Even if politically not correct, but unfortunately nobody can try to convince me that what is happening here and now is more ethical! (Your solution should have been applied to many other countries as well!)

So recede to the excuses: poverty, lack of education, awareness or development in general? Corruption (upps! sorry – unfriendly terminology) and other forms of rent-seeking? Hypocritical double standards in Western foreign policy? Culture? (Who will dare to mention!) In the end we will return to what we said already numerous times on this blog and therefore back to square one.

You already said it – contractors or even companies in general will only do as much as they have to or better will go as far as they can. This is true for an Indian human trafficker in the UAE, for a construction company or just any business worldwide. Or does anyone believe that Shell would dare to do those things they do elsewhere in Europe? Of course not!

So we don’t need to search for the guys responsible, we already know who they are! Let us just point out at this point that the quality of government institutions is an essential variable (de Soto, Hyden, Easterly, etc.) and in this case their overall quality depends on who or what exactly? Mindless idolatry will only symbolize that you agree with all this “lax behavior and negligence” out of greed – aka “lack of respect for foreign human live”!

Rosh, it will be pointless for Nick, to list all those good suggestions – which by the way he has done many times before!!! (in small doses) – because someone “responsible” does not give a damn and to waste just a few more future lives for “a culture of excessive materialism” will not make a big difference. The scary part is that normally we are talking about a handful of elites in a given country, but here we are talking about almost an entire society that “couldn’t care less” or have you ever seen among all this mentioning of the biggest, tallest, etc. that it was build on human blood?
Remember the quote: (one of my absolute favorites)

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference
Elie Wiesel

nick said...

Rosh,

No worries, I am always at liberty to slag off other contractors!!

From what I read bout this accident and 'without prejudice', I think it was totally avoidable. First of all the material seems to have been loaded and secured incorrectly, which hints at negiligence on the part of a supervisor or the driver, who is responsible for his load.
Secondly, there seems to have been no 'banksman', that's the guy in a hi-vi vest and a flag and walkie-talkie who is supposed to direct incoming and outgoing traffic on a building site, and make sure noone is behind a reversing vehicle etc.
These guys are very important and trained in risk awareness and get good wages in Europe.
Here, I have yet to see one of them (dedicated and trained and equipped).

nick said...

Sevens,

For me it is hard to differentiate between systemic abuse and accidents due to negligence, because they both fall into the greater “we don’t give a f***”” sphere.

Yet you should. There is a big difference between 'we don't give a fuck' and 'we don't know'.
Whilst ignorance is no excuse before the law, deliberate abuse is worse.

I think people here are generally less risk aware, or on the other hand simply have less regard for human life in the context of their theocratic lifestyle (at large).

I have observed on the roads here and especially during the daily school run that practically all non-western parents fail to put their children in car seats.
It's fatalistic mentality or idiotic trust in destiny - yet I wouldn't say that they don't give a fuck about their children.
It's just stupidity.

nick said...

i*maginate,
corrupted by what, Sevensummits?

And I thought you got quite cosy lately, what happened?!

BuJ said...

Nick! Have you seen a banksman in UAE? I am yet to see or even hear of one :-)

We've gone a long way in terms of construction safety in UAE.. I remember back in the 1990s I was working on a site behind City Centre, Dubai and we had to get a formal letter from the design team that edge protection and toe boards were essential to the building construction safety and progress cannot be made until they are provided. The client would not pay for it coz he didn't believe it was necessary.

He said if you want to avoid falling, you should not approach the slab edge!!! aggggh

as for my job to get the egyptian carpenters (who were working on the core) to wear their harnesses (back in the 1990s remember).. it was just a LOST CAUSE!

i*maginate said...

*nick

am all too willing to read what you have to say

only if Mr-you-know-what says hello

I'm outta here.

Otherwise, I value your words.

Thank you.

nick said...

gyjibuj,
No, I haven't seen a banksman either, although I like the guys at the roadworks with their red flags. In the absence of flags I have seen some wave newspapers...

The UAE has come a long way. I also work in India occasionally, and the difference between Europe and the UAE is marginal compared to the abyss between the UAE and India - in terms of best practice in construction as well as H&S.

I think Europe has gone too far with H&S. I am not supposed to say this but IMHO a lot is just idiotic nannying gone bonkers.
(Example: A bricklayer is not allowed to lift any block heavier than 20kg by himself. By law. What's he supposed to do? Call his mates, or the Polish helper for each and every block?? Yep, and so on ad nauseam.)

BuJ said...

Hi Nick.. I assume GYJ = FYI :-)

Banksmen are an extinct species.. well they never really developed in the 1st place in the UAE.. I really hope they use more and more of them.. not only when reversing trucks but also on cranes at the ground.

as for europe.. you know the UK is the only country in the world with a "safety" ministry.. with executive powers etc.. and that's the HSE.

and yes i agree we've gone WAY overboard with H&S in the UK ( I dunno about the rest of europe).. i see why the 20 kg limit was imposed but it sometimes hinders more than helps.. but thanks to Bulgaria + Romania (Poland is so 2005!) we can just "mitigate" the risks :P

nick said...

Hi Buj,
err, that gyji- I realized too late, was part of the word verification gone astray :)

Mind you, there is an equivalent to HSE in most EU memberstates. But the UK one is particularly self-important...

nick said...

As for the 20kg blocks - LOL, yes, you can use Romanians to 'mitigate'.
Or, use mechanical help. One contractor I came across got some stickers made, in jest, that read 'lifting device' and stuck them to the hard hat of an Irish guy. The inspector was not impressed...

Editor said...

The families of seven Indian workers killed when a bridge under construction collapsed last week in Dubai are to receive 20 years’ salary in compensation for the deaths.

Contractor Wade Adams said yesterday that next of kin would receive twice the amount of 10 years’ salary it originally announced. Human resources director NM Naushad said “Our company has decided to give 20 years’ salary – their lifetime salary – to their families. We don’t want them to suffer”.

According to the director next of kin to each worker will receive AED 20,000 ($5,400) as an interim measure. “We have given the cheque to the Indian mission (in Dubai). This will serve as immediate relief for the families before the full compensation amount reaches them” he said.

Editor said...

Sorry, forgot the source:
http://www.arabianbusiness.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=503918%3Abridge-death-families-to-get-20-years-salary&Itemid=1

BuJ said...

ah, there is no end to the lovely string of Irish jokes :-)

I'm dealing with them as we speak.. and I tell you.. sometimes they deserve these generalisations!!!!

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