New safety measures at stadium where worker died
SAO PAULO (AP) Brazilian organizers are strengthening safety at the stadium hosting the World Cup opener following a worker’s death, hoping to quickly reverse an order that halted construction in part of the venue.
The addition of new safety rails Tuesday comes a day after labor officials said the installation of 20,000 temporary seats at the Itaquerao stadium could not continue until safety concerns were addressed. On Saturday, a 23-year-old worker died after falling from about 26 feet while installing seats.
Fast Engenharia, the company in charge of the temporary structures, has yet to release information about a new timetable for the stadium, which was already delayed.
The company said in a statement it was preparing a report to show labor officials that all needed measures were implemented. It said the report would be delivered by the end of the day Tuesday.
The company reiterated that all of its safety measures were in accordance with Brazilian regulations. It said that after the analysis of the report it expected construction to ”resume immediately so it could deliver the work by the established deadline.”
Before the accident, FIFA expected the venue to be ready about a month before the June 12 opener between Brazil and Croatia.
Sao Paulo’s vice mayor didn’t expect the work stoppage to cause significant delays, saying the installation of the temporary seats was a ”relatively simple job.”
”It’s not a complex situation,” Nadia Campeao told Radio Estadao. ”Even if work is stopped for a few days so the recommended adjustments can be made, it shouldn’t alter the final timetable.”
FIFA and the local World Cup organizing committee released a statement downplaying the delay. They called the interruption ”standard procedure when accidents of this nature occur.”
”Given the advanced state of the assembling of the temporary stands, we believe that the schedule for delivery of these areas will not be impacted,” the statement said.
A labor ministry official in Sao Paulo said the stoppage was needed to eliminate the risk of another death.
”If there are no additional safety measures, the work can’t continue,” Luiz Antonio de Medeiros told the Agencia Estado news service. ”There was not enough protection. It was irresponsible.”
Fast Engenharia has denied wrongdoing and said the worker had all required safety equipment available at the time.
Investigators said an initial inquiry showed the worker didn’t connect himself to a safety cable. According to witness accounts, he said he had only a ”quick thing” to finish at the site.
Medeiros said additional measures could have prevented the death even if the worker wasn’t connected to his cable.
The safety rails were being added around areas where workers installed the temporary seats.
FIFA and the local World Cup organizing committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Construction was already behind schedule at the stadium because of the damage caused by another accident that killed two workers following a crane collapse in November.
The stadium, being built by popular Brazilian club Corinthians, is expected to cost about $490 million. In addition to the opener, it will host three group matches, one second-round game and one semifinal.
Follow Tales Azzoni at http://twitter.com/tazzoni