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Lamin Jaiteh Was Given No Safety Equipment On Construction Job: ‘Farrugia Dragged Me Onto Middle Of Road’

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Lamin Jaiteh has given his first full account of the events that led up and preceded his fall from a construction site in Mellieħa in the case against his boss, Glen Farrugia, who abandoned him on the side of the road following his injuries. 

“I was afraid because he said we were going to the hospital and I didn’t know what his plan was or when he was going to drop me. Then he dropped me at the roadside there,” Jaiteh told a court according to Times of Malta.

“I don’t know where he stopped. I don’t know the area. He stopped in the middle of the road. He removed the seat belt. He dragged me.”

“I used my elbows to drag myself onto the pavement because I was in the middle of the road.”

Speaking in court virtually from his hospital bed, Jaiteh detailed how he first arrived in May 2021, working as a painter. He changed profession because the pay wasn’t good, eventually finding work on a construction site belonging to Farrugia on 17th September. 

Eleven days later, Jaiteh fell two storeys and was dumped on the roadside to tend to his injuries.

 “When I stepped on the scaffolding, which is under the concrete, I found nothing to hold on to and kept falling down,” Jaiteh told the court.

“When I fell, this Malian guy was there. He came to grab and drag me, because the rest of the scaffolding that I had stepped on was falling down. When I fell, the scaffolding fell as well.”

What happened next remains shocking – with Farrugia allegedly dumping Jaiteh on the side of the road.

“It was very painful. It was a pain like I’d never experienced in my life. It was my whole body, I couldn’t tell where the problem was and my legs weren’t responding,” he said.

“I don’t know how many minutes passed but I was saying ‘help me help me’, I was trying not to lose consciousness, because I didn’t know where I was. And I was doing that until those two girls passed in the road.”

When police arrived, Jaiteh’s concerns were not on his serious injuries but whether he would end up in prison, something which Farrugia warned both Jaiteh and his colleagues after the accident. 

“So I was crying and telling them I didn’t want to go to jail. But the police told me no, I wouldn’t go to jail if I told them what happened,” Jaiteh said.

During his testimony he revealed that he was provided no safety equipment when he went on site.

“I have my own safety shoes but no helmet, no jacket. When I lost my safety shoes, he gave me €40 to buy a pair. Then at the end of the week, he took the €40 back.”

Glen Farrugia of J&G Contractors Limited has been charged with 20 offences, ranging from criminal offences to breaches of health and safety regulations and employment law.

A fundraising initiative has been set up to help support Lamin following the incident.

Construction site safety is a long-standing issue in Malta with a multitude of injuries, mostly involving foreign workers, reported each year. 

Despite the industry’s death toll, on-site safety remains scarce with little to no enforcement carried out by local regulatory agencies.

Lovin Malta recently launched its Planning Web project which is seeking to add an element of transparency to Malta’s construction industry. In addition to finding the latest news and analysis about the industry, you call also use the platform to report any illegal works or construction-related issues.

What do you think of the case?

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Julian is the Editor at Lovin Malta with a particular interest in politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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