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Fiji Time: 12:35 PM on Tuesday 29 July

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WAF responds to concerns over worker's death

Tevita Vuibau
Sunday, June 15, 2014

THE Water Authority of Fiji says that all care will be taken on future work sites to ensure that workers do not suffer the same tragic fate of Simione Sugucolo who was buried alive last week.

Mr Sugucolo was buried by collapsing soil in Wailoku while working on a WAF job site and subsequent questions have been raised on safety procedures at job sites.

The Wailoku site was run by a works contractor employed by WAF who said they were dissatisfied with the contractors performance for failing to address safety concerns.

WAF said in a release, a machine in the accident area had damaged a 150mm line from an existing septic tank.

"While maintaining quality of works the contractor has been requested to assure all of the safety requirements."

"Moving forward, strict compliance of safety protocols will be one of the mandatory requirements to become a contractor for WAF in future to ensure better safeguards against the work force in the country.

WAF also said that they expressed their sincere condolences adding that all required work compensation would be carried out.

After Mr Sugucolo's death, his brother Pailato Radibi said he was astounded by the lack of safety procedures at the site.

"I have experience in the type of job my brother was carrying out before he died and I know first-hand of how dangerous it is," he said.

He said the depth of the hole in which his brother was working in was about 12 feet, saying the hole was dug straight down without any retaining wall.

"The soil dug out of the hole was left too close to its opening. It has been raining all of last week, so obviously the soil was weak. Why didn't the engineer looking after that project see this?

"It was simple common sense.

"It's dangerous working underground and I believe the safety of my brother and two of his other colleagues who were in the hole with him were not considered at all, even before they went in."


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