Hanoi's 'tower of death' fined for labor safety violations

TN News

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Hanoi inspectors have fined 15 contractors of a high-rise building a total of VND235 million (US$12,447) for violations of labor safety regulations.

Six workers have died on the construction site of the Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower since July last year.

The building's main contractor, Keangnam Enterprises, did not fully comply with Vietnamese labor safety laws, inspectors found after an investigation was launched two months ago.

The Korean-owned company, for instance, didn't prepare measures to guarantee the site's general safety and failed to cooperate with the supervisor and consultant, Vietnam Institute for Building Science and Technology (IBST), in managing labor safety.

Other contractors, meanwhile, committed several violations including the failure to file periodical reports on labor accidents. Twenty-four sub-contractors were working on the project, and some 50 companies were hired to provide various services to the sub-contractors, the inspectors said.

IBST was also found assigning unlicensed staff to supervise the site and not recording devices that were yet to be checked but already put in use.

The investigation showed that 42 haven't been registered with the city's Department of Labors, War Invalids and Social Affairs as regulated, and 12 of them weren't checked.

Nguyen Thi Phuc, vice director of the department, said the construction site of the 70-story building carried risks of labor accidents, as more than 70 percent of laborers were unskilled and inexperienced.

Moreover, Vietnamese laborers had poor adaptability to construction sites managed by foreigners due to language barriers, the official noted.

According to inspectorates, around 3,500 laborers, including 198 foreigners, mainly Koreans, work on the site every day.

Slated to be Vietnam's tallest structure and the world's 17th tallest building once it is completed this year, the building recorded the first four casualties last July when workers slipped and fell to their deaths.

The construction was then suspended, but three other workers were injured when work resumed a few days later.

Another worker became the fifth victim when he was killed by a falling steel pipe in February.

A few weeks later a technician was killed when a formwork section collapsed, for which IBST was partly responsible, according to the inspectors.

The section was temporarily erected before the 12-day Tet holiday, and the supervisor didn't check its safety, letting the accident take place on the very first day they returned to work, they said.

In late March a fire broke out at the site, and the contractor blamed it on cigarette ash dropped by a worker. No injuries were reported.

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