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Qatar World Cup stadium death blamed on “lethal equipment”

An inquest into the death of a construction worker who fell 40m when his safety harness broke while working at a Qatar 2022 World Cup soccer stadium has labelled practices at the stadium “inherently unsafe” and blamed site managers for using “potentially lethal equipment”.

Zachary Cox, 40, fell at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on January 19, 2017, when a faulty hoist he was using to put a suspended walkway in place broke. Cox was brought in to work on the stadium after some of the 1.8-metric ton metal platforms needed to be fixed, it was reported.

According to the inquest, the fall snapped Cox’s harness and caused him to sustain multiple injuries including damage to the brain and a broken neck.

Coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley revealed that he died as a result of the fall following the introduction of new work practices and concluded: “The site managers at the stadium knew or should have known that they were effectively requiring a group of their workers to rely on potentially lethal equipment. [The new system] was chaotic, unprofessional, unthinking and downright dangerous”.

The 2022 Qatar World Cup has been dogged by hundreds of death and human rights cases, with worker conditions, such as extreme heat and humidity, reported to be a major factor in the number of fatalities at tournament construction sites.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) made a statement in 2017 that blamed the Qatari government for jeopardizing the lives of millions of workers by allegedly not enforcing outdoor working restrictions during certain hours of the day.

“We demand reassurance that those responsible for making the decisions that ultimately led to Zac’s death will be held to account and justice will be served,” said Mr Cox’s family.

“We want to know lessons will be learned, so other families won’t suffer under similar circumstances.”

February 28, 2018

Written by James Billington


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