Local organisers of the soccer World Cup are adding safety features where a worker died in the stadium planned to host the tournament’s opening match, hoping to quickly reverse an order that has halted construction in part of the arena.
The addition of new safety rails on Tuesday came a day after state labour officials said the installation of 20,000 temporary seats at Itaquerao stadium could not continue until safety concerns were addressed. On Saturday, a 23-year-old worker died after he fell about 26 feet while installing seats.
After a meeting with building executives, Sao Paulo state labour ministry officials said the work stoppage was expected to continue until next week. Construction in the rest of the stadium, which is already delayed, would continue as scheduled.
Fast Engenharia, the company in charge of the temporary seating, is expected to present a new safety plan on Thursday to show that all necessary measures will be implemented. Work would resume once the plan is approved and put into practice.
The company reiterated that all of its safety measures were in accordance with Brazilian regulations.
Before the accident, Fifa expected the stadium to be ready about a month ahead of the June 12 opening match between Brazil and Croatia.
Sao Paulo’s vice-mayor predicted the stoppage in installing temporary seats would not cause significant delays to finishing the stadium.
“It’s not a complex situation,” Nadia Campeao told Radio Estadao. “Even if work is stopped for a few days so the recommended adjustments can be made, it shouldn’t alter the final timetable.”
Fifa, world soccer’s governing body, and the local World Cup organising committee said they supported authorities’ efforts to protect worker safety.
They also played down the delay. “Given the advanced state of the assembling of the temporary stands, we believe that the schedule for delivery of these areas will not be impacted,” their statement said.
Construction was already behind schedule at the Itaquerao stadium because of damage caused when a crane collapsed in late November, killing two workers. A giant roofing structure fell on part of the stadium’s facade, significantly pushing back the stadium’s completion date.