Thursday, July 12, 2007

More die at accident plagued building site

City News - June 09, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

For South Jakarta's One Pacific Place high-rise building project, three is certainly not a lucky number. Three accidents on the construction site have taken three lives and injured several others in just three weeks.

In the latest fatal accident late Thursday night, two men were killed and two others injured when scaffolding on the building collapsed, police said.

The remains of the workers, identified as Tugiyo, 40, and Lamijo, 40, were taken home Friday to Gerobokan, Central Java. Two survivors, Lili, 29 and Kasmijo, 29, went home with minor injuries.

The scaffolding incident was the second mishap to strike the project after a collapsing crane killed a security guard passing near the site three weeks ago. The police have named the crane operator a suspect in the incident.

A third accident occurred at 3 a.m. Friday when the sling of a crane rack broke, forcing several workers riding in the cart to break glass windows to escape from the precariously dangling cabin.

No official reports have been filed over the last accident.

Kebayoran Baru police, who oversee the local area, have questioned witnesses and injured victims from the first two accidents.

"We also questioned project supervisor Sugiyanto to find out who was responsible for the (scaffolding) accident," the head of the subprecinct's criminal unit, First Insp. Heru Ruspiandi, said Friday.

He said police would also summon PT Ascet, the contractor that installed the scaffolding.

If an investigation found the accidents were caused by negligence, suspects could be charged with a maximum of five years imprisonment, he added.

According to Heru, the accident happened when the scaffolding where Tugiyo and Lamijo were working collapsed, smashing another one under it where Lili and Kasmijo were working.

"We found the upper scaffolding smashed at the 8th floor and the other stuck on the 27th floor, where Lili and Kasmijo were still hanging alive," he said.

Heru added that police would recommend the Manpower Agency issue a warning to PT Ascet, the building's manager, to pay serious attention to the safety of the site.

"(Getting contractors to prioritize safety) is hard, unless (a project) is controlled by foreigners," said a supervisor for mechanic and electrical installment at a construction site near the One Pacific Place complex.

The supervisor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he found many locally-backed projects did not regard safety as an important issue.

Indonesian Society of Civil and Structural Engineers chairman Davy Sukamta said that probable cause of the recent incidents could be based in the project's work safety system.

According to Davy, work safety plans should deal with every detail to avoid accidents involving workers and the public.

"When we're talking about incidents involving heavy equipment, it's because of old age and a lack of maintenance," Davy said.

"If the equipment was in normal and proper condition, it would not have collapsed."

Davy said head contractors should be held responsible for every accident that occurred at construction sites.

"They are the ones responsible for choosing subcontractors," he said.

He said the first crane accident at One Pacific Place could have been avoided by either temporarily blocking off traffic or working at night.

"The construction company was already aware of the degree of danger of such heavy work so it should have tried every possible way to minimize it," he said.(01/10)


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