Qatar launches probe into death of migrant worker after accident at World Cup training base

A Qatari government official said the incident is being investigated by authorities.

A migrant worker died at a resort used as a FIFA training base for the Saudi national team during the World Cup in Qatar, according to reports.

The labourer was working on repairs at the Sealine Beach resort that hosted The Falcons before they were eliminated in the group stages of the mega sporting event, currently being held in Qatar.

In a statement to Doha News, a Qatari government official said the incident is being investigated by authorities.

“If the investigation concludes that safety protocols were not followed, the company will be subject to legal action and severe financial penalties,” the official assured, referring to his Qatari employer, Salam Petroleum.

According to The Athletic, the Filipino man died after slipping off a ramp alongside a forklift truck. He was at the site to repair lights in a car park when he fell headfirst onto the concrete.

Paramedics onboard a medical helicopter attended to the man but were unable to save him.

Anonymous sources who spoke to The Athletic said he was not wearing a safety harness while working on the repairs, as is protocol.

Routine maintenance takes place at thousands of sites across the country every day and all companies are required to adhere to the strict health and safety standards enforced by the government. 

In a statement, FIFA said it is deeply saddened by the “tragedy”

“As soon as FIFA was made aware of the accident, we contacted the local authorities to request more details. FIFA will be in a position to comment further once the relevant processes in relation to the worker’s passing have been completed.”

Migrant worker deaths

The incident comes as Qatar continues to face scrutiny over its treatment of migrant workers, with global media honing in on the number of migrant worker deaths as well as compensation awarded to those who are injured while working on World Cup related projects.

Last week, World Cup chief Hassan Al-Thawadi said that there were three work-related deaths and 37-non work-related deaths relating to the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s projects.

Speaking with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, Al-Thawadi also addressed the figure for deaths in all sectors in Qatar since 2014.

“The estimate is between 400 and 500.” Thawadi said.  “ I don’t have the precise number, that is something that is being discussed.”

The remarks quickly gained traction online and in the international media, with outlets reporting that the hundreds of deaths were in relation to World Cup projects.

Following this, Morgan took to social media to dispel the misquoted remarks.

In the interview, Al-Thawadi added that Qatar is striving to continue improving conditions for workers.

“One death is too many, it’s as simple as that. [But] every year the health and safety standards on the sites are improving, at least on our sites, the World Cup sites, the ones we are responsible for. Most definitely to the extent that you have trade unions [commending] the work that has been done on World Cup sites and the improvement,” he said. 

The Supreme Committee has consistently stated that since the World Cup’s stadium construction started in 2014, there have only been three migrant work-related fatalities and 37 non-work-related deaths.

In the statement responding to the latest incident, the Qatari official said “compensation is paid through the Workers’ Support and Insurance Fund when a worker has been injured or passed away due to a work-related incident, or when an employer is unable to pay salaries. 

The official noted that over $350 million has been paid out through the fund this year. 

“The rate of work-related accidents has consistently declined in Qatar since strict health and safety standards were introduced and enforcement has been stepped up through regular on-site inspections,” the official added.

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