Bridge deaths ‘not the true story’ – The Standard – Phoebe Ng

Lawmakers and labor rights activists yesterday denounced a government investigation, saying it did not reflect the true story of the March 29 collapse of a Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge construction platform, which killed two Nepali workers.

The Labour Department’s inspection report claimed two cables of the work platform “suddenly broke,” while the Confederation of Trade Unions alleged the crane lifting the platform had “design flaws,” and this made the platform unbalanced – breaking one of the cables.

Dil Gurung, who represents Nepal workers on the site, said authorities only talked to the contractors but not the workers when they investigated.

Another worker, identified only as “Ming,” said he suffered from insomnia after witnessing the accident.

“They [the two workers who died] disappeared in just three seconds,” Ming said at a CTU press conference yesterday. “My heart was broken, one was only 22 years old.”

Ming recalled that three of the five workers were at the scaffolding working to disassemble the work platform. “But it just collapsed.”

Ming said the scaffolding was secured contrary to previous reports, adding he believed the platform’s design was flawed. “The platform would not balance properly in big waves,” Ming recalled.

Labour Party chairwoman Suzanne Wu Sui-shan said the tragedy could have been avoided, as the workers were only working on the platform’s adjacent scaffolding. But a safety harness eventually killed two of them, as the workers’ safety belts had been wrongly connected to the “wobbly” platform, which plunged into the sea.

It has been over a month since the platform collapsed, but authorities do not even have a timetable for a search of the platform for evidence, Wu said.

Nine workers have been killed since the bridge work commenced. The groups are demanding safer workplaces for workers and an independent safety inspector in construction sites.