Falling concrete slab kills two workers

Two Bangladeshi labourers are killed by a slab of concrete at a construction site in Abu Dhabi.

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ABU DHABI // Two Bangladeshi labourers were killed when a slab of concrete fell on them at a construction site in Abu Dhabi. They were working on the Yas Mall project on Monday morning when the pre-cast floor slab crushed them. A spokesman for Aldar, the master developer of Yas Island, said it was informing the victims' families yesterday evening. "We are investigating what exactly happened and how to avoid an accident like this from ever happening again," the spokesman said.

Before the accident, Aldar had managed more than than 20 million working hours without an accident, he said. The two men worked for Al Futtaim Carillion, which referred enquiries about the accident to Aldar. BuildSafe UAE, a consortium of 388 construction companies and regulatory bodies, issued a report this year that highlighted falling objects as a major cause of accidents in the UAE. It stressed the need to create "exclusion zones" on building sites - areas to be avoided because of hazards from above.

According to the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, 108 labourers died at work in 2009. Of those, 20 were hit by falling objects. It is the country's third fatal workplace accident in as many weeks. On June 26, four men died when the cradle they were working on in Sharjah broke in half. Last week, two more men fell to their death in Sharjah when the cradle they were working on also gave way. In April, the Ministry of Labour said the government was drafting minimum safety standards for the construction industry.

The standards are expected to be drafted within six months and then sent to the Cabinet for approval. eharnan@thenational.ae