The Guardian has reported that Nepalese migrants building infrastructure to host the 2022 World Cup died at a rate of one every two days in 2014 – despite Qatar’s promises to improve their working conditions including working long hours in temperatures that regularly top 50C.
According to the report, the figure excludes the deaths of Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi workers, raising fears that if fatalities among all migrants were taken into account the toll would almost certainly be more than one a day.
The Nepalese foreign employment promotion board say 157 of its workers in Qatar had died between January and mid-November 2014 – 67 of sudden cardiac arrest and eight of heart attacks. Thirty-four deaths were recorded as workplace accidents.
Qatar employers also exert a high degree of control over the movement and conditions of workers in their employ where it has been well documented* that workers are afraid to report abuses or assert their rights for fear of retaliation, which further exacerbates the situation.
$140 billion of infrastructure is forecast to have Qatar ready to host the 2022 World Cup and an estimated 500,000 extra workers will be needed in the lead up to this high profile international event.
As a global safety community, we have so much knowledge and experience in how to keep people safe. We have standards and best practices that allow people to work safely and when accidents do happen, we investigate root causes and seek to learn and implement new ways of working and behaving to avoid or mitigate risk.
So how can we allow these horrific statistics to be ‘ok’ in 2015 – both the fatalities that have occurred and those anticipated over the coming years?
What is the cost of a human life, when there is another way? This does not have to happen and yet it does…
Data On Worker Fatalities For Mega Sporting Events*
2022 World Cup: 4000 workers could die before a ball is kicked. 1200 workers had died between when the World Cup was awarded in 2010 and March 2014, based on available data from just two countries.
2018 Russia World Cup: 5 workers killed
2014 Brazil World Cup: 7 workers killed
2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: 60 workers killed
2012 Ukraine/Poland European Football Championship: 20 workers killed
2012 London Olympics: No fatalities
2010 South Africa FIFA World Cup: 2 workers killed
2010 Beijing Olympics: 10 workers killed
2004 Athens Olympics: 40 workers killed
2000 Sydney Olympics: 1 worker killed
The Guardian Article Source: Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed *Source: Data On Worker Fatalities ‘The Case Against Qatar’ From The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), 2014. Image Source