Seven Injured in State-Run Waskita's Most Recent Construction Failure

A concrete mold at one of Waskita Karya's toll road projects in Jakarta collapsed on Tuesday (20/02) morning, injuring seven workers, police said. (Antara Photo/Aprillio Akbar)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 12:21 PM February 20, 2018
Category : Business, Corporate News

Jakarta. A concrete mold at one of Waskita Karya's toll road projects in Jakarta collapsed on Tuesday (20/02) morning, injuring seven workers, police said.

The accident is the latest in a string of failures for the state-owned firm, raising concerns about Waskita's operations at a time when it is currently spearheading the government's ambitious infrastructure development projects across the country.

East Jakarta Metro Police Commissioner Yoyon Tony said that a pier head mold at the Becakayu Toll Road construction site collapsed around 03.40 a.m on Tuesday.

"The accident occurred when the workers were pouring concrete into the mold," Yoyon said.

But the mold bracket failed under the concrete weight, and then fell down.

"Seven workers were struck by pieces of cast material and brackets," he added.

The victims are currently being treated a local hospital, while police have sealed the construction site for further investigation.

Waskita said in a statement that the company has been cooperating with the police to investigate the cause of the construction failure on the 11-kilometer toll road project, which first begun development in 2014.

Waskita expects to come up with preliminary results from its internal investigation within 24 hours.

"The management deeply regrets this incident and regarding the victims, we ensure that they have been taken care of," Dono Prawoto, a division head at Waskita, said in the statement.

Tuesday's accident marks the 13th to occur at high profile government infrastructure projects since late August, according to data compiled by the Jakarta Globe.

Seven of those instances, costing a total of three lives, involved Waskita.

"The acceleration in infrastructure project construction seems to be carried out in the mindset a minibus driver, who only cares about his fare target, without regard to customer's safety and comfort," said Tulus Abadi, the managing director of the Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI).

Tulus said infrastructure projects in the country most likely lack proper planning and supervision.

Warnings Not Enough

The Ministry of Housing and Public Works issued early this month a warning against Waskita related to previous accidents on the Bogor-Ciawi-Sukabumi toll road project that occurred in September; the Pasuruan-Probolinggo in October; and the Pemalang-Batang toll road project in December.

In August, a crane on a Waskita construction site in Palembang, South Sumatra, came tumbling down.

In its warning letter, the ministry asked the company to improve its operating procedure and supervision methods.

That may not be enough.

The most recent fatal accident on a Waskita site occurred earlier this month when a retaining wall built by the company at an underpass within the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Banten collapsed on a passing car.

One woman was killed in that accident and another is still seeking treatment at a local hospital. Both were trapped under the rubble for more than 9 hours.

Subsequent investigations by the ministry's Construction Safety Committee concluded that the wall design and construction was incompatible with technical requirements mandated by the government.

"I have sent a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and requested that the underpass be dismantled and repaired before being opened again to the public," Housing and Public Works Minister Basuki Hadimuldjono said on Monday.

The minister said its now up to the Transportation Ministry to pursue criminal charges against the company for negligence that led to the deaths of several bystanders and workers.

YLKI's Tulus urged the government to establish an audit team to examine all ongoing projects to prevent more accidents in the future.

"Do not let failures happen when the infrastructure is used by the public," Tulus said.

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