Labourers fell after scaffolding at under-construction school collapsed; contractor on the run

Thirteen construction workers were injured when they fell from a height of around 12 feet after the scaffolding of the under-construction building of K.C. Sankaralinga Nadar Higher Secondary School collapsed on the Gollavar Agraharam Road in Royapuram on Monday.

Negligence on the part of school authorities and the private contractor, police said, caused the accident. The contractor is absconding.

The injured included R. Ramanayama (30), R. Satyavathi (30), R. Mangamma (31), R. Nagamani (28), G. Uma (20), B. Kondammal (28), S. Varalakshmi (30), M. Manikandan (24). Except for Manikandan, who is a resident of Royapuram, the others are natives of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and currently stay in a thatched house provided by the contractor in Mogapair. While Varalakshmi’s legs were fractured, the other workers sustained injuries on their faces, legs and hands.

Around 25 construction labourers were working on the premises at the time of the accident. The management of the government-aided school had decided to get a new two-storey building constructed as the existing facilities could not accommodate all the 1,500 students. The new building was to have at least 10 classrooms, including science labs.

The school, built in 1954, is said to be the oldest in Royapuram.

Construction work began on Monday after the school was closed for holidays following the quarterly examinations. The work was going on over an area of 600 sq ft. where the roof work including laying of blue metal and fixing of steel frames were on.

Around 5.15 p.m. on Monday, a group of workers mostly women, were filling the steel frames with cement concrete mix. Suddenly, the scaffolding that was holding the steel frames with the mix collapsed leading to the fall of the workers. Some of the workers who were beneath the steel frames were also injured in the incident. Workers, who were nearby, immediately rushed to their rescue.

The injured were rushed to Government Stanley Hospital. Most of the women workers sustained hip injuries. “We had continued working despite it being late in the day as the contractor wanted the construction to be completed in a month’s time,” said S. Lakshmi, a labourer.

A police team led by assistant commissioner of police (Royapuram), R. Sivasankaran visited the spot. A case under section 337 and 338 of IPC (act of negligence) has been registered by the Royapuram police.

Police and residents said that none of the construction workers were provided with safety gear. The contractor was not at the spot at the time of the incident. “It’s a case of sheer negligence and action will be taken against those who are responsible for it. The contractor will be apprehended,” said R. Mohan, inspector (L&O), Royapuram police.

RELATED NEWS

Builders mum on safety at work sitesSeptember 25, 2013

More In: Chennai | News