Sat, 27 Jul 1996

Injured workers recovering after high-rise accident

JAKARTA (JP): Three construction workers injured in a condominium project are recovering in hospital, while the bodies of their two dead colleagues have been taken back to their hometowns in Central Java.

Another has already been released from hospital, and is recuperating in the worker's dormitory on the site in Setiabudi, South Jakarta.

The workers were working on the Sudirman Condominium Tower project, which started two years ago. The project, which consists of three towers, is scheduled for completion in 1998.

Police are still investigating the accident in the Karet Semanggi subdistrict, which killed Mamat and Sumarjo, both 20.

Meanwhile the management's early findings reveal workers may have been at least partly to blame for their misfortune by ignoring instructions to weigh an empty plank down with bricks.

Yesterday Sudung Marpaung, the personnel officer of the project owner, Intisurya Wijayakusuma Joint Operation, said the two workers fell off a board dash on the eighth floor.

Quoting supervisors' reports, he said the late workers were ready to take delivery of a load of bricks from a crane. But one end of the plank may have taken too much weight, which led to the accident, he said.

Sudung denied reports saying the workers fell off a gondola. "They were nowhere near a gondola," he said.

The plank's capacity was three tons, Sudung said, but he said he was not sure how much the bricks passed down by the crane operator weighed.

A pole supporting the plank may also have given way, he said.

"A supervisor had already told them to place construction material on the plank of the 15th floor, which is empty," Sudung said.

Sudung said he was unable to comment on the accuracy of reports that more workers had died in accidents on the site, because he is new. Subdistrict staff said there have been at least five more victims since the project began.

Another worker on the project, Toto bin Mukina, 20, was killed by a falling wooden bar on June 21, Kompas daily reported earlier.

Police are yet to determine whether the workers were wearing safety equipment such as protective hard hats.

Whether rubber boots and safety belts are necessary depends on the type of work and the location, Sudung said.

Sahari, one of the survivors at the Navy's Mintahardjo hospital claimed that his cousin, recuperating from a head injury, was not wearing his hard hat because it was broken. But Sudung said the helmet was broken in the fall.

He said the management has regular meetings with supervisors which include safety checks. There are now less than 1,000 workers on the site, he said, as the project is largely in its finishing phases.

Sahari said he and his cousin, who both arrived from Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara last month, were hit "by a rain of bricks" when the late workers fell from the eighth floor.

Meanwhile the head of the construction sector of the All Indonesian Workers Union (FSPSI), Syukur Sarto, said as of May there have been 88 accidents in construction sites across the city.

Although he was not sure how many workers were involved in current projects, Syukur said there was now a total of 1.8 million square meters of buildings under construction in the capital.

"Accidents are mostly due to management and workers' neglecting safety standards," he said.

Safety on construction projects is included in a 1970 regulation on work safety. (anr)