February 28, 2018

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‘Inherently unsafe’ work practices led to death

An inquest has heard that a construction worker died after he fell at a Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium building site while using “potentially lethal equipment”.

Zachary Cox, 40, plummeted 130ft (40m) at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on 19 January last year. He sustained brain injuries and a broken neck in the fall, Brighton and Hove Coroner’s Court heard.

Work practices at the stadium were “inherently unsafe”, the coroner said.

His family has called for an independent inquiry into his death.

Behind schedule

Mr Cox, who was born in Johannesburg but later lived in Hove and London, fell when a faulty hoist he was using to put a suspended walkway in place broke.

His safety harness also snapped under the weight and he dropped head first. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

Coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley found he died from multiple injuries after a fall from height after new work practices, which she branded “inherently unsafe”, were introduced.

The inquest heard extra hoists were brought in to speed up the construction after problems with some of the 1.8 tonne metal platforms had to be fixed, putting the project behind schedule.

Recording a narrative conclusion, the coroner said: “The site managers at the stadium knew or should have known that they were effectively requiring a group of their workers to rely on potentially lethal equipment.

“[The new system] was chaotic, unprofessional, unthinking and downright dangerous.”


After the inquest, Mr Cox’s sisters-in-law Ella Joseph and Hazel Mayes called for an independent inquiry and for the Foreign Office to step in.

“We demand reassurance that those responsible for making the decisions that ultimately led to Zac’s death will be held to account and justice will be served,” they said.

“We want to know lessons will be learnt, so other families won’t suffer under similar circumstances.”

Mr Cox was employed by a South African subcontractor, which was working for a German firm.


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