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Olympic Games Run-up Claims 11 Workers

Monday, May 2, 2016

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As the world awaits the 2016 Olympic Games kickoff in Rio de Janeiro this summer, Brazil’s preparations have claimed 11 lives.

The workers perished on Olympic facilities or Games-related projects between January 2013 and March 2016, news outlets report, citing an official report released April 26 by the city’s Regional Labor and Employment Office.

Brazil stadium
© iStock.com / dolphinphoto

Brazil's Maraca Stadium, originally built in 1950, will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The report, compiled by Elaine Castilho, the auditor for the Rio Olympic Games, said the causes of death ranged from electric shock to scaffolding incidents and were “undoubtedly caused by lack of planning.” A copy of the audit was not immediately available for review.

“It’s a frightening number,” said Robson Leite, inspector for the labor office.

Deadly Developments

The deadliest project is the expansion of Metro Line 4, where three workers have died, news reports said. One worker was said to have been killed after falling from a ladder onto the tracks, another was hit by a truck and another was reportedly struck by a compressed air hose.

Two workers have died in the construction of the Olympic Park, where most of the games are to take place. The other fatalities were said to have taken place on two museum projects being built for the Games and roadway projects connecting the venues.

Serious injuries were also noted in the audit: one worker had to be hospitalized following an electric shock at the Olympic Park, and another worker’s leg had to be amputated, reports said.

Concerns Raised

The report has raised concerns among labor groups.

“This is the result of a lack of respect for workers’ lives,” said Ambet Yuson, general secretary for BWI (Building and Wood Worker’s International).

“It is shameful that employers and organizers behind the Olympics are putting profits over workers’ safety and health.”

In addition to the worker death toll, political unrest in the city has also fueled concerns from the international community.

A day after Rio authorities announced the results of the audit, Olympic officials reported that the first South American host city has its venues 98 percent complete with less than 100 days to go before the Opening Ceremony.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Construction; Fatalities; Health and safety; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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