SUSPENDED WORK:Cut corners, negligence and unsafe practices are being blamed for the collapse of scaffolding as wet cement was poured onto an edifice
By Jason Pan / Staff reporter
Workers and fire department officers on Wednesday examine the debris at a construction site at Taoyuan Dasi Senior High School in Taoyuan after scaffolding collapsed and killed five people.
Photo: Chou Min-hung, Taipei Times
A scaffolding collapse on Wednesday that killed five people and injured several others at a Taoyuan high school construction site is under investigation, government officials said.
Five workers fell when scaffolding gave way and were buried under debris when wet cement was poured on top of a five-story edifice at Taoyuan Dasi Senior High School (大溪高中).
Preliminary finding suggest project contractor Taoyuan-based Ju Jia Construction Co (巨佳營造), might have neglected safety regulations, investigators and officials from Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office said, adding that the top-story structures and scaffolding support were not properly reinforced and fastened for the cement pouring process.
Judicial officials and staff from the Ministry of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration yesterday interviewed police officers and firefighters who responded to the accident, along with witnesses at the work site.
“I have asked Ministry of Labor and the Public Construction Commission officials to make a full assessment and enhance workplace safety at construction sites. The project contractor and the supervising agencies also need to take responsibility. If there were violations of the law, then they must comply with the judicial investigation,” Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
Victims’ families have said that Ju Jia Construction Co was negligent, rushed work procedures, cut corners and did not follow proper safety protocols.
Two inspections of the construction site found violations, labor ministry officials said, adding that a work-stoppage order and a fine of NT$150,000 had been issued.
Construction at the site has been suspended indefinitely by the ministry, with resumption of the project only possible after the cause and legal responsibility for the accident is determined.
A Pingtung County couple, named Liao Chung-jen (廖忠仁) and Huang Hsiu-mei (黃秀美), were among those killed.
Relatives said Liao and Huang were hired as temporary workers and it was their first day at the work site. The couple leave behind two teenaged boys.
“Nobody from the construction company has given us an explanation or provide a statement about what happened,” said a man, surnamed Huang (黃), whose father was killed in the accident.
“We want to know the truth, but the facts are being obscured by company officials,” Huang added.