GURUGRAM: A social media video showing four workers having a narrow escape as a girder weighing several tonnes comes off the hook and falls on to the ground has brought to the fore safety lapses at construction sites. The accident happened on February 12 at the construction site of the Dwarka Expressway near pillar 16 on Pataudi Road.
When TOI visited the spot, the workers there said it was the fourth such accident since December last year. Officials in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said they had sought a report from the contractor, Larsen & Toubro.
The 13-second video, uploaded on Twitter, shows the 50-tonne iron girder and concrete girder being lifted with cables. A few seconds later, the girder comes off the hooks and crashes onto the ground. While three of the four construction workers hang from the cables, one who was on the girder falls with it. No one was injured in the accident.
The workers said the impact of the fall was such that the girder developed cracks and had to be made again.
The 29km expressway, which will connect Dwarka in Delhi with Gurugram, is being constructed under the Bharatmala Project. Almost 19km of the expressway is in Haryana while 10km in Delhi. A few days ago, Union minister Nitin Gadkari had said the entire expressway would be completed by August next year.
“It was around 4pm on February 12, when we were pulling up the girder through the winch machine. There was a sudden jerk and the girder fell off the chains. Three people were holding on to the cables and hanging in the air while one fell with the concrete structure,” a worker said.
“Senior officials found that the gear box of the machine had failed and smoke had started to come out of the motor,” he added. The worker claimed that a similar accident had taken place at the site in January while two others had occurred in December last year.
NHAI officials dubbed the accident a result of mechanical failure. “Preliminary observation had suggested that there could have been a technical issue while placing the girders, which caused the tensions on the rope and the harness attached to the workers to oscillate. There was neither any injury or casualty, nor did the structure sustain any damage. However, the contractor will have to submit a report to us about the accident and the safety measures taken at the project site. If lapses are found, appropriate action will be taken,” an NHAI official said.
L&T has claimed that the workers had sufficient safety gear to avert any unfortunate incident. “Mechanical issues can occur while carrying out such heavy construction work. That is why we try to ensure that our safety measures are well in place. In the video, we can see that due to a sudden jerk caused during launching of the girder, the harness starts to swing a little. But, workers had all the gear in place to avoid any injury and avert an untoward situation. We’ll submit the details of the accident to NHAI soon,” said an L&T official.
(With inputs from Siddharth Tiwari)