Premier orders national review of construction site safety

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) on Thursday instructed officials to reexamine safety at construction sites across Taiwan, after five workers died when scaffolding supporting them collapsed in Taoyuan City a day earlier.

At an Executive Yuan meeting on Thursday, the premier asked labor and public construction officials to review and improve construction site safety, saying that any illegal behavior should be investigated, Executive Yuan Spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) quoted Lin as saying at a press conference after the meeting.

The workers, four male and one female, were carrying out grouting work on a construction site at Taoyuan Municipal Daxi Senior High School on Wednesday afternoon when the scaffolding collapsed. They fell to the ground from the fourth and fifth floor and were buried under scaffolding.

Despite being dug out of the rubble and rushed to hospital, all five were pronounced dead on arrival.

Prosecutors are investigating what caused the incident, but a foreman at the site revealed that he had warned the site director that work conditions were unsafe, only to be ignored.

The Ministry of Labor on Wednesday ordered the suspension of work at the site. It also issued a statement saying it would ask Taoyuan prosecutors to investigate the incident and seek severe punishment for any violations of health and safety regulations by contractors Chu Chia (巨佳營造工程) and Yufang (御方企業行).

The ministry said it has previously inspected Chu Chia construction sites twice, resulting in a suspension of work on one occasion and a fine of NT$150,000 (US$4,674).

Among the five victims were 49-year-old Liao Chung-jen (廖忠仁) and his 47-year-old wife Huang Hsiu-mei (黃秀妹), who are survived by two children.

Liao’s elder brother criticized the lack of strict safety standards at the site, blaming lax adherence to regulations for the accident.

He said several family members do odd jobs to make ends meet and noted that this was the first day his brother and sister-in-law worked at the Taoyuan construction site.

The three other victims were 50-year-old Hsu Chien-cheng (徐建成), 61-year-old Wang Hsien-min (王顯民) and 69-year-old Huang Chen-yi (黃振益).\

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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