Russia's dismal safety record
was underlined once again this week with the publication of a video on YouTube depicting a horrible workplace accident that has already been viewed by tens of thousands of people just a couple of days after being uploaded.
(UPDATE: The video has since been removed from YouTube as a violation of its content policies.)
The tragic incident was the result of a botched demolition job in the city of Lipetsk on June 16.
According to Russian news reports
, as laborers sought to tear down a three-story building in the courtyard of a hardware store with a bulldozer and some steel cabling, a shop employee ambled out and began filming the work with his camera-phone.
It's clear from the footage that 29-year-old Yevgeny Titov is unaware that he is in any danger and no attempt is made by the workers to remove him or to create a safety exclusion zone around the demolition area.
Titov can even be heard exhorting the bulldozer's driver as the machine grapples with the old masonry. Then, tragedy strikes as a huge piece of the building crashes to the ground, spraying dangerous chunks of debris in all directions.
Titov is quickly engulfed by the flying rubble and chaotic scenes follow as the people around him try to rush to his aid. Another man, much closer to the demolition, can be seen jumping out of the way of the exploding debris at the last second.
Despite the best efforts of doctors, Titov's injuries were too severe for him to survive. He is survived by his wife and a 3-year-old daughter. One other man was hurt in the incident, but his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.
The company in charge of the demolition is now facing charges of criminal negligence and, in a cruel twist of fate, Titov's camera-phone footage will be a crucial piece of evidence in the case.
Sadly, the tragedy in Lipetsk highlights the difficulty of establishing a culture of occupational safety in Russia, where work-related deaths and injuries
are still very common despite legislative efforts to improve the situation.
-- Coilin O'Connor