Study on Safety and Social Security of Construction Workers engaged in Major Projects in Delhi – 2009


This study was initiated by the ‘Commonwealth Games – Citizens for Workers, Women & Children’ (CWG-CWC) coalition to examine the working conditions, safety and social security of construction workers engaged in Commonwealth Games’ construction projects in Delhi. It examined the safety and social security of these construction workers, particularly with reference to compliance with the requirements of the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Act, 1996.The study was undertaken during 2009.

Sample Size and Area

The study covered a sample of 702 construction workers and their families spread over ten major Commonwealth games construction/renovation projects and five Delhi Metro Rail Corporation sites/clusters. Interviews with 702 workers and focused group discussions with 160 workers were conducted at worksites and onsite labour camps at the Games Village, airport, etc. and at offsite labour bastis and jhuggi clusters at a number of locations.  Bihar and Uttar Pradesh account for 75 per cent of the workers in this sample. Workers from Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand comprise 20 per cent of the sample.

Study Findings

This study revealed that the violation of workers’ rights to minimum wage was widespread despite the ‘showcase’ nature of the CWG projects. The biggest concern of the workers, noted by 45 per cent workers, was about low wages and late payment of wages along with long hours of work. The availability of amenities at the worksites was poor and across sites on an average one toilet was available for 114 workers. Only 86 per cent respondents reported availability of drinking water at the site. In most of the sites the workers are provided the requisite safety equipment but there is no proper compliance with safety measures. In half the instances the main safety risk perceived was falling down from a height.

Most, nearly all, sites do not have any qualified doctor for treatment of the injured workers. Lack of water was one of the commonest complaints made by workers. Considering the average for the labour camps/bastis associated with all sites, 69 individuals were using one toilet. Only four workers in this study had been informed by the employer or contractor about the registration required with the Welfare Board and the benefits available to the workers. Hardly any of the workers have heard of the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Act, 1996 or The Delhi Construction Workers’ Welfare Board (DCWWB) and the benefits that they are supposed to get from the Board under the Act.

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