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Bahrain: Increase in Number of Deaths in Work Sites

On October 19, 2009

Bahrain's Labour Ministry's most recent figures show that the number of deaths in work sites in the kingdom has significantly increased in 2009. Thus far, 35 people have lost their lives on construction sites this year, compared to 36 people in all of 2008, 29 in 2007, 21 in 2006 and 18 in 2005.

Abbas Salman Matooq, the head of the occupational health and safety department, told Gulf Daily that workers are dying because companies are trying to cut costs by employing cheap labor and using cheap equipment. He added that companies flout the safety laws, and leave the workers unsupervised. Matooq also complained about the shortage in safety inspectors from the ministry, which needs to cover many construction sites with just four full-time inspectors. According to Matooq, most of the workers killed this year were from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan and the majority of the deaths occurred by falling from high buildings, or getting trapped in workplace machinery.