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Even one death occurring on a construction site is unacceptable. But, tragically, Brazilian Arenas being built to host World Cup games have experienced several in just over a year.
The site of the most recent death was Amazona’s Capital Manaus, where a worker fell 115 feet from the arena's roof. Last month two were killed at the San Paulo site where a crane hoisting a 500-ton piece of roofing collapsed. Another fatal accident occurred at Manaus just last March, and yet another happened at the same location last year.
Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes says the Brazil government has very “strict” and “firm” labor protections laws, and that the rush to complete the stadiums has not compromised safety. But it’s hard to believe that pushing workers a reported 60-70 hours a week isn’t a safety risk.
Certainly something has gone seriously wrong. Besides the deaths, there have been a total of 150 accidents at Manaus alone since last June, according to the head of a construction workers' union.
Tell Brazil to quit cutting corners on World Cup worker safety!
We, the undersigned, say the number of accidents at World Cup construction sites are totally unacceptable.
Even more disturbing, Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes’ says he believes there are fewer accidents at World Cup venues than at other Brazilian construction sites. If this is true, then the government’s labor protection laws could not be as firm, strict or nearly as protective as Fernandes claims.
It seems obvious that if one construction site alone has had not only several deaths but hundreds of accidents, problems are occurring and reoccurring that should have been fixed long ago.
Simply penalizing firms like the one in charge of construction at Manaus, Andrade Gutierrez, is clearly not doing enough to put an end to these tragic accidents. Since two of the deaths have been due to falls, it looks like the company could at least construct some kind of literal safety net to protect those working on the roof of the Manaus arena.
We request that Brazil stop allowing companies to compromise worker safety at these World Cup arena construction sites.
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