Report by Kattada Karmikara Hittarakshane Samiti
The deaths of and injuries to construction workers have now become a regular occurrence, which one is witness to everyday. On 21st April, 2009 one worker fell from the 4th floor of a new college building under construction on Hennur Ring Road.
A group of us, concerned with this alarming recurrence of such accidents, visited the project site, met with several workers in this site and the officials of the Police Department.
At around 9.30 am on 21st April, 2009, Oblesh, 18 years residing at Kelahili Main Road, K- Narayanapura, fell from the 4th floor when he was working as a helper on the construction site of “Annaya Reddy Building”. “Annaya Reddy Building” consists of two building of 5 floor, around 8 feet apart, the 4th floor of which are connected by a wooden plank each and Shri Oblesh was walking from one building to another carrying 2 buckets of water, when the wooden plank fell causing him to fall on the floor. As he was falling down, an iron rod also went into his knee. Oblesh is survived by his two younger brothers, one younger sister, one older brother and his father.
According to the Police Department, at the Hennur Police Station, Shri Oblesh fell from the 2nd floor to the portico on the 1st floor and hurt his head. However, when we spoke to the workers, we were told that the worker fell from the fifth floor. Oblesh was taken by the owner to the Satya Hospital, Kammanahalli with a head injury, injury in his right forearm and bleeding from the nose according to the medical report. According to the workers, apart from the head injury and the injury on his right forearm, he was also gravely hurt on his right knee and was bleeding from his ears. He was then taken to NIMHANS for more advanced care, Finally he was taken to Victoria Hospital. He passed away on 22nd April, 2009 at 5.25 pm. The Hennur Police have registered a case being Crime No. 150/09 under section 304-A against the Contractor (Kotesh) and the owner (Annaiah Reddy).
‘Safety measures (or the lack thereof)’
When we visited the construction site, we saw that there were no safety precautions taken in any way. There was no safety net of any form, or anything to safeguard workers from falling. There was no basic first aid available or any van to take injured workers to the hospital.
According to the workers, the owners gave the family of the deceased Rs. 45,000/- and refused to give them any more amount as compensation. The deceased was the sole earning member of his family and he had his siblings and aged father to take care of.
What needs to be done?
1. The Police must carry out proper investigation and file its charge-sheet within the stipulated period and ensure punishment to those guilty.
2. The Builders and developers must pay just compensation to the families of the deceased in accordance with the law.
3. The owners, and all other builders and developers, and all other Developers, must comply with all safety norms according to the Building and other Construction Workers Act, 1996, International Labour Organisations Safety and Health in Construction Convention No. 167 of 1988 and the provisions for safety in the BBMP Building Byelaws 2003 (section 26) to avoid further death and injury which given the current scenario seem dangerously imminent and will occur frequently.
4. The Labour Department has to ensure that the Developers adhere to the safety norms and that proper investigation is done with regard to the deaths. Further, they have to make sure that all workers are registered under the Building and Construction Workers Act 1996. Also, the labour department has to ensure that the workers’ family receive just compensation for their enormous loss.
Kattada Karmikara Hitarakshane Samiti
122/4, Infantry Road, Opp Infantry Wedding Hall
Mary – 9741379390