Muscat: Six expatriate workers from different Asian countries were found dead in a water pipeline in the Airport Heights in Seeb on Monday. According to the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulances (PACDA), bodies of six expatriate workers were recovered from the construction site of a major water pipeline extension project.
Large pumps were used to pump out water from the 295-metre-long concrete pipe (14 metres below the surface) and rescue the workers trapped inside following heavy rains on Sunday. “The rescue operations took nearly 12 hours”, said PACDA in a statement. PACDA urged companies operating in such projects to comply with safety rules and protect workers from any risks.
The General Federation of Oman Trade Unions said that it has been following up the incident in which workers from the private sector were killed. The union expressed its deep sorrow over the incident and called on all competent authorities to clarify the circumstances that led to the incident so that necessary legal steps could be initiated.
Saud al Salmi of the oil and gas workers’ union told the Observer that it is time for Oman’s occupational safety laws to consider climate changes that cause accidents. “We are facing more cyclones now than before and this has to be taken into account seriously. There has to be detailed audit of the safety standards at such worksites,” he said. “An independent inquiry must be ordered and the safety measures at such projects must be reviewed. It is a matter of people’s lives and cannot be ignored easily,” said a social media post.
“Those responsible for this project should be held accountable, from the highest official to the junior level. The occupational safety officer of this project should be questioned,” said another post. Oman’s occupational safety regulations state that the employer or his representative shall take the necessary measures to provide sufficient protection to the workers during their presence in work sites.
The worksite, its buildings, materials and all the equipment used for work must conform with the technical specifications. The employer or his representative should inform the workers, before they take up work, of all the hazards they may be exposed to, and train them on the protective procedures.
Workers shall use the means of protection, safeguard them carry out the instructions on keeping themselves away from injuries and refrain from all acts intended to obstruct the implementation of these instructions or cause harm or damage to the means set up to protect the safety and health of their fellow workers.