Friday 1 January 2010

ZSP Condemns Safety at the Site of the National Stadium

Members of ZSP are documenting safety violations at the construction site of the National Stadium in Warsaw.

One problem relates to lack of proper safety lines and nets for all workers. The site is being built by many different subcontractors, and not every one is complying with standards. The next problem is lack of training for unskilled workers who theoretically shouldn't be doing any dangerous jobs, but in reality are exposed to different hazards. The last problem, which is sorry to note is that workers are allowed to work even if they have been drinking. This seems to be more problematic on the night shift; construction goes on at the site until 3AM.

Another safety proble is not related strictly to the worksite, but to the containers where some people are housed, in particular contract workers from the Ukraine. Since they are not properly heated. there is much makeshift heating there and this makes a fire hazard.

At the beginning of December, two workers feel off a crane at died at this site. The cage for carrying people dropped off and fell 20 meters. This crane was not allowed to carry people - but the bosses ordered people on it anyway.

The accident was photographed by local people just looking at the construction site. Due to these accidental witnesses, the information about the accident got out. It seems like news about what is really happening at the site is often the result of local people's curiosity about the stadium.

Workers have also told us an interesting fact: people are working without proper training and have fictious certificates. (It is common in Poland that firms write out certificates for health and safety training that never took place.) There were also ficticious health check-ups - at least 40 people are known to be working with false health certificates from doctors who never saw them.

This is all despite the fact that the State Labour Inspectorate claims all the time to be vigilantly watching over safety compliance at the stadium and claims to have "inspectors on the site". But we suppose that the political pressure to build this stadium on time is much bigger; there were many delays in starting construction and the political machine, who treat the Euro 2012 as their greatest accomplishment, was in a panic that they might not finish in time, which would be a "national disgrace". But now there is a huge rush to do things and pressure by both the state and the firms to keep things cheap - which is a recipe for disaster. And the real disgrace is that people are consciously putting people's lives in danger to increase their profits and the inspectors have turned a blind eye on this.

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