Worker Seriously Injured in Accident at Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy
One worker at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy was seriously injured in an accident at the yard on Friday, January 19. Trade unions representing the shipyard workers called for an immediate strike as they sought to raise awareness of safety issues.
Emergency services from Monfalcone in the Trieste region of eastern Italy responded to emergency calls Friday morning. Scaffolding and an enclosed hoist used to lift material to the cruise ship Mein Schiff Relax currently under construction in the shipyard had collapsed.
One worker, a 23-year-old employee of a contractor working on the cruise ship construction project, was discovered pinned under the twisted pile of metal. The fire brigade worked for 30 minutes to remove the debris, including using a crane to lift sections of the collapsed scaffolding that was on top of the man. The man, who is reported to be a citizen of Bangladesh, suffered crushing injuries to his head and chest trauma and was removed to the hospital. Media reports said he was in guarded condition but that his life was not in danger.
Scaffolding alongside side the cruise ship under construction collapsed
Reports were unclear if the man was on the scaffolding or more likely under it preparing to board the cruise ship when the collapse happened. The contractor was reportedly trying to account for all its employees to ensure that no other individuals had been caught in the collapse. The Italian fire brigade also brought in divers who made several searches to ensure that no one was in the water while additional searchers were also going on the dock in the area around the ship.
The Italian authorities ordered the area around the accident sealed off until a full investigation could be performed. The Trieste area is exposed to strong winter winds known as boras and according to the media reports, the strong winds had been flowing since Thursday night. Wind speeds were reported to be reaching approximately 60 mph. The scaffolding was to be alongside the ship with some reports saying it was at the deck 16 level.
A crane needed to be used to free the worker trapped under collapsed scaffolding
“Once again, the victim of the accident is a worker from a contracting company,” the metalworkers' trade unions said in a statement. “It is not acceptable to risk your life for work. And in this context, contract workers are the most exposed, and most at risk.”
Media reports indicated that the employment practices of contractors working at the Monfalcone shipyard have been the subject of investigations since 2018. Among the issues are reports of low wages and poor training.
The trade unions called for an immediate one-day work stoppage to raise awareness of the safety issues. They are demanding that contracting companies working at the yard must be responsible and demonstrate they can ensure the safety of their workers as required by law. They are also calling for adequate safety training while demanding that Fincantieri immediately replace any contracting company defaulting on these responsibilities and deficient in the required safety protocols.