Dead worker found under collapsed bridge in Almaty, investigation launched01 may 2015, 03:19
Police in Almaty filed two criminal cases in relation to the collapse of the bridge after a man, who had been considered missing for several days, was found dead under the rubble. It is not yet known on which counts the police is investigating or who is being charged, but it is already clear that one of the criminal cases is related to violation of safety regulations resulting in the death of a person.
The bridge under construction on the intersection of Ryskulov and Sain avenues in Almaty collapsed on 24 April at around noon. Six bridge spans of over 18 meters long collapsed. The area covered in rubble made about 1,000 square meters. At the time the accident happened there were 52 construction workers at the site.
51 of them were accounted for after the accident, but one worker went missing. The worker of the construction company Toktasyn Imankulov, born in 1955, was found dead on April 25 at 17:15 under the collapsed bridge. His body was recovered from concrete at around 2:30 on 26 April. He was an employee of Basis-A company that is the primary contractor engaged in construction of the bridge.
21 people got injuries of varying severity in the accident. They were taken to the city hospital. Three of them were in serious condition, 17 others undergone medical examination, and one person refused to be hospitalized. At the moment, 11 workers remain in the hospital in moderately severe condition.
Construction company Basis-A, the general contractor of the collapsed bridge, said it would provide financial assistance to the family of the deceased worker.
The company expressed its condolences to the family and relatives of Toktasyn Imankulov. The company undertook all the funeral expenses. In addition, the family of the deceased will be provided financial assistance by the company.
Investigators started working at the site on 28 April to determine the cause of the accident.
On April 28, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Roads of the Ministry of Investment and Development of Kazakhstan Amangeldi Bekov spoke about the situation.
"Regarding the bridge collapse in Almaty, akimat (municipal authorities) and Basis-A are contractors of the project. To date, a commission has been established to determine the causes of the collapse of the bridge. The commission has not yet made a conclusion. Today, we were given the permission to clear the rubble, but the works have not yet started, we are waiting for the findings of the commission," he said.
While the findings are yet to be published, it is a fact that the largest number of fatal accident in all of Kazakhstan’s industries is in construction. The next two are mining and smelting works.
At the opening of an exhibition on the protection of health and safety of workers in Astana on April 28, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development Daulet Argandykov said that there were about 2,000 accidents a year in Kazakhstan’s industries, of which about 300 ended up being fatal.
The press service of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Kazakhstan reported that more than 70% of these deaths were the employers’ fault. The largest number of victims was registered in the enterprises involved in the construction industry - 407 people, as well as in mining and metallurgy - 298 people.
This year, high level of occupational injuries was registered in Karaganda Oblast, where it affected 275 people, in East Kazakhstan Oblast - 228 people, Kostanai Oblast - 171 people, Pavlodar Oblast - 170 people, Aktobe Oblast - 137 people and in the city of Almaty - 145.
Akhmadi Sarbasov, Head of the Committee for Labor, Social Protection and Migration of the Ministry of Health, said during the conference: "You know perfectly well that Basis-A is a key company that implements a number of projects not only in Almaty but also in Astana.”
He stressed that 20% of all accidents in Kazakhstan happened in the construction industry.
"Currently, the State Inspectorate of Labour in Almaty is conducting an investigation. This work is underway. State bodies, representatives of employers and workers are involved. The commission will soon make a statement on the causes of the accident. The causes of the collapse will become clare soon. If violations which fall under the administrative code are found, then the employer will be punished. The company will be fined," Sarbasov told the reporters.
He also said that if the investigation finds something criminal, all the materials will be transferred to law enforcement authorities.
In 2014, as a result of inspections on violations in the field of occupational safety and health protection in Kazakhstan, state inspectors issued a total of 1659 warrants and imposed 1622 fines totaling 113 million tenge.
Because of the threat to life and health of employees, work of 46 production sites and 107 units of equipment and machinery was temporarily suspended until such violations were eliminated. Also, 1495 officials were dismissed from their posts. 1856 case files were submitted to the police, of which 159 served as ground for starting and investigating criminal cases.
If employers fail to report accidents, it oftentimes results in protests among employees after injuries.
The press service of the Ministry of Health and Social Development informed that at the moment, a comprehensive plan is being developed to ensure safety and health of workers by going through a phased reduction in the number of jobs with hazardous working conditions. The plan promises to significantly reduce occupational injuries.
By Dinara Urazova (Renat Tashkinbayev contributed to the story)