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Tuesday 10.12.2019 | Name days: Judīte, Guna
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State Real Estate board member steps down over construction worker’s death

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construction, work safety, Finance Ministry, death, VNI

Kitija Gruškevica

Following the fatal fall of a construction worker off the roof of Finance Ministry’s building, State Real Estate (VNI) board member Kitija Gruškevica has stepped down.

«I am prepared to step down and take moral responsibility for what happened on Smilšu Street 1. I believe such a decision is important for both VNI reputation and the company’s future development. It stresses work safety in construction and society as a whole,» says Gruškevica, who is responsible for development and construction projects in VNI board.

VNI council chairman Mārtiņš Bičevskis says the company’s council has accepted Gruškevica resignation.

«Although the construction company is the one responsible for what happened on the roof of the building, Gruškevica has told the council of her intention to step down, and the council has accepted her resignation,» explains Bičevskis.

Under Gruškevica’s management a total of eight large construction projects were finished last year. VNI has also been able to progress with multiple important objects. The company has improved management over development projects and use of Construction Information Modeling system was commenced, the company mentions.

«We are committed to doing everything to prevent the possibility of incidents like the one that occurred on 8 November from repeating in the future. A crisis management group was formed immediately after the incident to perform service inspection and carefully check the quality of work and compliance with internal and external regulations,» adds Bičevskis.

Information has been requested from SIA Delta Construction and SIA SCM Latvia. Internal audit is ordered to perform an inspection about compliance with safety rules at the construction site. Additionally VNI has informed all associated organizations – State Labour Inspectorate, Riga Construction Office, State Police – about readiness to cooperate and provide necessary information.

VNI also notes that Delta Construction and SCM Latvia had contracted another firm for work. As the client, VNI was not informed of this.

VNI has requested information about the contractor and the amount of work entrusted to them to make sure the Law on Public Procurements was not breached. In accordance with the signed construction contract, compliance with work safety requirements is the direct responsibility of Delta Construction and SCM Latvia. The two companies are also responsible for any sub-contractors.

According to VNI, the sub-contractor – RK Līvi – denies the deceased worker was one of theirs. VNI doubts this explanation. State Police handle the investigation in the meanwhile.

«VNI as supervisor of real estate properties and developer strictly complies with all requirements of regulations. However, we can already see our ability as the client to influence decisions of construction companies is limited. This is why we have decided to perform additional checks at all active construction sites and search for ways to improve regulations to exclude the possibility of such cases repeating in the future,» says Bičevskis.


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