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Sep 26, 2013

Near fatal accident at the Belize City Center as wall section collapses on worker

The dismantlement of the Belize City Center commenced earlier this week with a workforce of almost a hundred able men tearing down what was once the premier venue for sports and entertainment in the Old Capital.  But tonight, one man remains in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, following an accident earlier today during which a section of a concrete wall collapsed upon him.  Twenty-three year old Egbert Jones was busy knocking down an inner partition on the ground floor of the building when the construction material gave way.  Jones was unable to avoid the falling wreckage which caused severe injuries to various parts of his body.  Chadwick Tingling, an employee at the site, recounts the incident; while project manager Reina Gonzalez speaks on occupational hazard and safety.

 

Chadwick Tingling, Construction Worker

“We were here tearing down these walls and stuff and pertaining to beating the wall with malls and stuff, some of the walls are week and unfortunately my friend, Egbert Jones, the wall caught him off guard. When he was hitting the wall, the wall just came down and it fell on him. And he was going unconscious and stuff so we just stood and took him from under the ditch that was there and we put him by this area. He got it bad and we just hope that he is okay.”

 

Reporter

Chadwick Tingling

“From what you saw, what were the extent of his injuries?”

 

Chadwick Tingling

“Well it looks as if his hands are broken; his face. I don’t know if his nose is broke or what. I don’t know how to explain it but inside here…I haven’t seen it but blood was pouring out of his shirt; his foot and so forth. It’s not a pretty sight mien; dah something weh we noh want ketch nobody else.”

 

Reporter

“What this brings to mind is what is called occupational safety; to be able to make sure that what you are doing on the job is within certain means that you protect yourself from either debris or anything else that would cause harm to you. Have you guys either been briefed by the site foreman as to how to go about taking the necessary precautions while doing this job?”

 

Chadwick Tingling

“Yes sir, every half an hour, the supervisor, the foreman of the site comes and tell us to be careful of what we are doing because it is a very dangerous job and anyone can get hurt at any time. So whenever we are hitting the walls, especially the walls that are on top that we cannot reach and that we are hitting to let them come down, we have to be extra careful. And unfortunately today, it just come down on my friend.”

 

Reina Gonzalez, Project Manager

Reina Gonzalez

“We are conscious that the guys aren’t that well educated when it comes to the severity of the job that we are performing here. It is a demolition; the structure is in somewhat of a bad condition so we have to take as much measures, safety measures, as possible for every single person. We have our safety guide that is Mister Logan; he takes runs up and down the entire site making sure that the guys perform the job the adequate way. But we did, from the beginning of the project we explained to the guys, especially the ones that are working here at the bottom at the demolition of the walls. We explain to them, during the demolition of the walls, we are not only affecting the walls, but we also need to look back and be careful if we have any effects on the actual steel structures. Yes the walls don’t have any structural purpose, but after a wall, they start working as a membrane especially when the steel starts to fail its purpose. So we told them during the demolition make sure that you check back—if you see any slight movement on the steel, any separation on the joints—stop immediately and inform me as the project manager or our consultant, Mister Gustavo Garcia. So they have been informed of all the measures that they should take. So in any event of an accident, well we are prepared on what to do and how to proceed with it.”

 

Since demolition of the city center began a few days ago, this is the first recorded incident involving workers on the site.

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