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Design & Development

British judge to lead Qatar 2022 stadium worker death inquiry

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the body responsible for preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has agreed to allow a British judge to carry out an inquiry into the death of a British worker during the construction of the Khalifa International Stadium.

Zac Cox, who was employed by a South African subcontractor working for German company Pfeifer, died in January 2017 after falling off a suspended platform 40 metres up following the failure of hoist equipment.

The inquiry will be led by Sir Robert Akenhead, a former UK High Court judge with expertise in construction law.

A statement from Cox’s family said that Akenhead would “examine the underlying causes of Zac’s death, the decisions that led to the death, the process of investigation since the death and safety lessons that have been learned and enforced since the incident”.

In February last year, British coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley, criticised safety measures at the site by saying: “Many managers knew and should have known they were effectively requiring a group of their workers to rely on potentially lethal equipment.”

She added that a decision by the contractors to accelerate work on the stadium’s roof had contributed towards the accident.

Qatar’s SC said after the coroner’s verdict last year that “several systemic failures and human errors contributed to this incident”.

The news of the inquiry emerged as the SC announced the completion of 200 million work hours since preparations began on World Cup projects.

The SC said that it has completed about 75% of its preparations for the tournament.

The committee added: “To guarantee compliance, the SC organises a series of lectures and workshops for all FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 workers to educate them about health and safety standards across all its projects. The SC also works closely with a number of local and international partners to organise site visits and inspections, hosting more than 2,000 site visits so far.”

Image: Supreme Committee