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11 May 2015

Migrant Rights

Kuwait: Industry corruption puts construction workers at risk

"Rampant corruption put Kuwait's 186,000 construction workers at risk", 09 May 2015

Kuwait's estimated 186,000 constructions workers account for 17% of the migrant workforce, not including the thousands of undocumented migrants working in the industry. The majority of construction workers come from Egypt and South Asian countries. They live in construction sites or in the slums of Hassawi, Farwaniya, and Khaitan, where they are closely surveilled and denied reasonable access to public services...Industry corruption accounts in part for the frequency of exploitation.  Many state-contracted companies constructing new residential areas and universities are recurrently accused of corruption, including overextending project timelines and using cheap materials to save on production costs. This can mean putting workers at risk, as they work in dangerous environments without the proper safety equipment. Many construction projects, especially houses and residential buildings, fail to provide laborers with necessary technical support. In 2014 alone, Kuwait’s Fire department reported 48 cases of collapsed buildings...One 2010 study revealed that the construction industry is “Kuwait most hazardous industry.” An average of 83% of victims of construction accidents in Kuwait sustain permanent disabilities. The study explains that falls are the most frequent type of accident in this industry accounting for 33% of deaths, followed by being crushed or struck by a falling object (25%). Use or misuse of tools caused the third largest number of accidents in Kuwait (18%). The study also notes that the most frequent type of injury is fractures (53%) and the most commonly injured body part is the upper body (53%).