Quick action saves two APUA employees from more serious injury after ground collapses at excavation site in Pigotts

Two employees of the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA)
Water Business Unit are still recovering from a harrowing accident
that occurred on Friday evening, July 14, while they were on the job.
The victims, a 27-year-old Willikies resident and a 44-year-old
Cooks Hill man, reportedly were part of a team that was replacing a
mainline in an excavated area in Pigotts.

When the ground gave way, collapsing under them, both men
reportedly were buried in the dirt, stones, and other debris. The
younger man was being buried up to his chin, reports say, while his
co-worker was covered up to his thigh.

Reportedly, it was the quick action of their co-workers and
independent contractors that averted a more serious situation. It is
alleged that these persons used their hands to dig through and
remove the soil in order to free the trapped men.

The Willikies man was freed first, through the successful digging of
those who rushed to assist. Then, through the efforts of the
emergency responders who arrived on the scene – at the
intersection of Pigotts Main Road and Fitches Creek Drive – the
Cooks Hill man was rescued.

The two victims were immediately rushed to the hospital, with
bruises about the body, swelling, and other injuries.

The incident reportedly occurred just as the workers were coming
to the end of their day-long task.

According to other media reports, APUA has assured the public that
it is offering the necessary support to both its employees.
Reports say these workers have insurance and that APUA has
already made contact with the providers to expedite the required
assistance for both men. However, this incident has brought into
focus the need for insurance for certain high-risk workers while on
the job.

This accident is the second in which government workers have been
injured during work-related mishaps, this year.

Gregson Joseph, an employee of the Ministry of Works, was injured,
in late June, in an explosion at the Burma Quarry.  He remains
hospitalized at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre recovering from
serious burns.

The Police and workers in other public agencies whose jobs are
deemed to be high-risk have been pleading with the Government to
provide them with insurance coverage. 

A source says she is hoping that these two separate incidents will
spur the Browne Administration into taking the concerns and
requests of these workers more seriously.