Police have ruled out foul play following the death of a 31-year-old mainland Chinese worker who plunged 28 metres from a building at Galaxy Entertainment Group’s (GEG) Phase 3 construction site in Cotai on Monday morning.
According to Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Lou Chan Fai, the deceased was a non-resident worker from the mainland surnamed Liu who had been working in Macao for four years and on the Galaxy construction site for two years.
For the past two weeks, Liu had been in charge of laying wire with other workers on the building’s ground floor; no one knew why Liu went to an upper floor, and his workmates did not notice anything unusual in his behaviour.
According to Lou, the Fire Services Bureau notified the PJ at 9 am on Monday that a man had died after falling from a height at a Cotai hotel construction site. After the man was rushed to the Conde de S. Januário Hospital Centre, a doctor confirmed that the victim, who was wearing safety gear, had sustained multiple fractures caused by falling from a height.
Lou said that PJ officers and DSAL officials suspected that Liu fell from an upper floor about 28 metres above the ground. The floor is equipped with an iron-framed walkway for workers, with a 1.2-metre-high safety barrier on both sides. There were no traces of fighting, no suicide note or any tools or items left there and there was no CCTV equipment in this area that could have recorded the incident.
According to Lou, the PJ do not suspect foul play and their investigation will focus on the probability that the victim committed suicide due to financial problems.
The exact cause of death will be confirmed by a forensic examination, Lou said.
The risk inspection chief of the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), Lei Seak Chio, said that the bureau despatched several officials to the hospital and the construction site to investigate. The officials were notified that Liu was fatally injured when they were carrying out their safety inspections and immediately ordered the contractor to stop all work on the site higher than two metres from the ground.
According to the DSAL official’s preliminary investigations, the victim fell to the ground from a permanent maintenance walkway, where the scaffolding had been removed, about 28 metres above the ground. The officials confirmed that there had been no arrangement recently for the victim to carry out construction work on the walkway. The officials discovered that the walkway showed signs that someone had “crawled over it”, Lei said.
According to Lei, the bureau will continue to cooperate with the PJ to investigate the cause of the accident, as well as reinforce construction workers’ safety awareness through training programmes. Lei urged contractors and employers to provide workers with safe conditions in order to avoid industrial accidents.
Lei said the DSAL officials had conducted safety inspections on the construction site in the past two days and discovered piles of debris, but no safety problems were found for those working at heights. Lei added that the bureau will provide assistance to Liu’s bereaved family and follow up on the exact circumstances of the accident, The Macau Post Daily reported.
Last year, three workers were killed and four were injured at that same construction site when scaffolding collapsed on 24 March.