The explosion happened at a building site in Arendal.Photo:Björn Larsson Rosvall/Scanpix

Calls to toughen up safety rules at building sites

4:22 min

There are calls today for stricter safety regulations in the building trade following yesterday's explosion at a construction site in Gothenburg which injured four people in Gothenburg, one of them seriously.

Unions and health and safety officials say the number of contractors now involved in any single building project makes it increasingly difficult to enforce safety in the workplace and determine responsibility for any accident.

The explosion happened at the construction site in Arendal at around lunchtime. Eye witnesses say they saw a man drilling into a rock blasted several meters into the air by the force of the explosion, which also sent large stone boulders flying in all directions.

Safety representatives for the Builders Workers' Union Byggnads, visited the site this morning and are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Jack Rolka from the Gothenburg office of the Builders Workers' Union told Radio Sweden that the number of people injured or killed in the building trade every year is unacceptable.

"On June the 8th we had a minutes silence for all the people that have died at work or get injured every year and I'm a carpenter by trade and the worry I felt when I went to work is always hard and when I heard the news of course it affects me and I think about the families whose lives are going to change forever. It's really weird that we can have a trade where it's almost considered okay that there's a huge risk going to work and we can never accept that."

3023 people were injured in the building trade last year including 12 fatalities and Jack Rolka says the increase in workplace accidents is down to the growth in contractors and sub contractors working on site.

"We see when there are many sub-contractors that safety work gets harder to oversee and we see this as a growing trend and even the sub contractors sell the job on to the next sub-contractor and it's down to the fact that deadlines are getting shorter and pressure on people to do the job is getting higher."

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