Indian mechanic’s death prompts concern over safety for migrant workers

Indian mechanic’s death prompts concern over safety for migrant workers
February 08 14:18 2017

The death of an Indian mechanic in an accident at his workplace has prompted concern over safety for migrant workers and calls for a thorough investigation.

Maheshwaran Mariappan, 27, was caught under a dump truck that he was repairing on Maamigili, Alif Dhaalu Atoll on Wednesday. The vehicle fell on his head and he died within minutes.

A Sri Lankan national was arrested over the death, but the police declined to reveal charges against him.

Mariappan was working on an airport development project with Villa Shipping and Trading, which owns the Maamigili domestic airport.

His body has been flown back to India.

Ahmed Shifau, Mariappan’s supervisor, said he was at the site but did not see the accident take place.

“I turned around at the sound of screaming to see him on floor. We immediately took him to the hospital,” he said.

“He was working with truck. I did not see how it happened. I have seen sometimes when they do work like these they do it in a hurry without proper safety measure. However I don’t know what happened this time,” he said.

Shifau added that he was not responsible for safety measures at the worksite.

The Indian embassy said it did not have statistics at hand on migrant worker deaths and injuries from accidents in the workplace. The Bangladeshi embassy said it does not keep records.

Some 130,000 documented and 60,000 undocumented foreigners work in the Maldives.

Ahmed Tholal, a former member of the watchdog human rights commission, said safety measures are “usually ignored” for migrant workers.

“When accidents like this is reported we do not see a strong investigation that determines the causes or identifies who has to take responsibility. As in this case, most of the time it is the immigrants worker who has to take responsibilities for the employers shortcomings in providing safety,” he said.

An official at the Indian embassy has called for a thorough investigation.

“It is very unfortunate that this incident happened. The employer needs to take measures to ensure accidents do not happen at the workplace in the future,” the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said. “The company should take every measure to ensure that safety of workers are not compromised.”

In July, a Bangladeshi man was killed while unloading cargo from a boat in Malé. In October a construction worker was injured when he fell from the seventh floor of a building he was working on.

Correction: February 8, 2017
An earlier version of this article said that the Indian embassy did not keep records of deaths and injuries from accidents in the workplace. This is incorrect.



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  1. MissIndia
    February 09, 02:48 #1 MissIndia

    Another migrant death. Apart from ‘concern’ over the death nothing much is ever done. When will Indian workers realise the risk of working in the Maldives. Low pay, poor safety standards, unhygienic living conditions and no freedom of worship if you are a non muslim. Your mafiosi employer is also likely to confiscate your passport as soon as you arrive. The Indian embassy should investigate the death of this man and ensure his family are adequately compensated. He was probably the sole breadwinner in his family. I can see Maldives being dependent on Indian doctors, engineers, teachers and IT consultants for the foreseeable future but surely even you dim witted islanders can repair cars, clean holiday chalets, pilot motor boats and repair roads. You can’t all aspire to be fishermen, imams and politicians.

    Reply to this comment
    • PotKettle
      February 12, 19:56 PotKettle

      You are right, Mr MissIndia. What a pity that, with the possible exception of the freedom to worship, everything you have said would also apply to many, many places in India. That a supposedly advanced nuclear and spacefaring power should have horrible conditions similar to the undeveloped and primitive Maldives is cause for concern.

      I am grateful for your concern for the Maldives. I would be even more grateful if you could focus your attention much more keenly on the corrupt criminals who seem to have so much influence in India.

      Reply to this comment
      • MissIndia
        February 13, 20:52 MissIndia

        It is indeed our secularism that makes us unique. 86% of Indians are idol worshipping hindus like me yet we cherish our secular multi faith society. We even allow muslims to freely follow their religious beliefs. Maldives is a ‘100% Muslim society’……. in the twenty first century! Beggars belief.

        Reply to this comment
        • Bitter Me
          February 17, 16:46 Bitter Me

          And we see the corruption that prevails in India (and all over the world to be honest). So don’t give your bhaashan on Maldivian forums. Develop your own country, and then comment on other countries, Miss.Holier than thou! What about the silly cast systems you follow, honour killings, “donations” for every work, political name a few. So sshhhh.

          Reply to this comment

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