Labour Ministry probing worker’s fall at Robb St building

The Ministry of Labour has launched an investigation into last Saturday’s incident which saw an 18-year-old being injured after he fell through the elevator shaft from the third floor of a six-storey building under construction at Robb and Camp streets.

“Yes, we are investigating, our officers went there and took statements and the investigation is ongoing,” Chief Labour Officer Charles Ogle told Stabroek News yesterday when contacted.

He said he could not divulge any further information until the completion of the investigation. He also did not entertain questions about the fact that the owner of the building, R N Khan (only name given to this newspaper), said that all of the workers on the building were employed by sub-contractors. The man had said that since they were not directly working with him, he was not responsible for their well-being. Asked whether this is true according to the labour requirements, Ogle would not say but said all the man’s claims would be investigated.

Khan on Sunday last had said that even though he was not responsible, he had already spent over half a million dollars on the medical bills of 18-year-old Abdul Wazim Samad.

The young man underwent a surgery at the Woodlands Hospital on Sunday for an injury to his jaw and yesterday his father, Abdul Sheriff Samad, said his son is now at the Georgetown Public Hospital. On Sunday the father had said even though his son could not talk because of the injury to his jaw he was alert and had indicated he could not remember how the incident occurred. Yesterday the man said he had not asked his son about the incident since as he did not want “to pressure him too much.” He said they were told that the young man would be able to talk again 45 days after Sunday’s surgery and he would have to remain in hospital for that period.

Khan on Sunday had told this newspaper that he had reported the incident to the police as he did not believe the incident occurred the way he was told and had even said it was “highly impossible” that it happened the way a worker reported. He had even suggested the police take the worker, Denhaul Clarke, into custody until Samad could communicate how he fell and injured himself.

According to Clarke, he and Samad were heading to the lower floor of the building and he was speaking to him at the time. He said when they were on the third floor the young man told him to hold a minute and he proceeded to pull his jersey over his head but in the process was stepping back. He said before he could have alerted Samad to the elevator shaft he fell through and hurt himself.

On December 3 last year, four men were injured after they fell from the third to the second floor of the building. Anthony Fraser, 21; Kevon Goodman, 18, and at least one other man required medical attention following the incident. Another man, Rhude Boodem, did not require medical attention, and he was able to walk away from the fall with minor injuries.

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