One of the first thing builders do before beginning construction works is to hang a tarpaulin sheet in front of the site. This curtain, along with the lack of monitoring, provide enough freedom to flout safety norms. The reality check by City Express following the death of two Bengali youth after falling from a building under construction revealed blatant violations of construction safety norms. For contractors in the city, the lives of the poor workers are apparently not important enough to be guarded with safety belts and helmets.
Employers in the city are seldom found to follow the guidelines set for the safety of employers such as use of quality scaffolding, helmets, shoes or safety belts. Workers, most of them poor and uneducated migrant labourers, are forced to work in dangerous conditions. Though several accidents occurred in the past months, the Labour Department has not initiated steps to check the safety norms.
Labour department officials are not aware of the safety aspects in the Buildings and Other Construction workers Act 1996. The state’s Labour Policy of 2011 stipulates employers to submit a safety plan during the time of registration for construction. Also it demands safety audit for every construction. However, the Labour department is not keen to monitor these aspects. “The government has not issued any order in this regard,” said Labour Commissioner T T Antony.
When asked about the activities of the department, Antony said the department had dearth of inspectors to do regular checking.
Incidentally, the contractors have to spend 5-10 percent of the construction amount to comply with the safety norms.
West Bengal native Mujibul Alam and Sanjay, both 22, died after they fell from the scaffolding of a high rise near the Technopark campus at Kazhakoottam on Thursday evening. Another person Jaipul suffered serious injuries.