AN accident at a Lucainena de las Torres greenhouse construction site in which an employee was run over by a tractor has led to the arrest of the company owner and an undocumented worker.
Guardia Civil detained J.A.M.G. from Nijar on six charges of violating workers’ rights and S.D. for imprudence causing serious injuries.
The Guardia got involved in the case after the victim’s family reported the incident on a site in the Paraje Pescadores area of Lucainena. They told officers the victim had been left in intensive care fighting for his life.
From piecing together the sequence of events from witness statements it emerged that after a breakfast break one of the workers on the team got onto an agricultural tractor. Despite not having any knowledge of how to manoeuvre this kind of vehicle, he moved a lever which caused it to shoot backwards, going over the victim and colliding with a greenhouse entrance.
The workers told the team manager and the company boss what had happened. They took the injured man to the Nijar health centre in the company van, from where he was rushed by ambulance to the Torrecardenas hospital in Almeria city.
Investigations centred on the individuals who had been working at the time of accident. It emerged six of them were not registered with Social Security. What’s more, three were undocumented immigrants in an irregular situation in Spain.
The Guardia said the company boss had exploited workers’ situations of extreme need or promised to regularise their situation, violating their labour rights.
They also uncovered a number of other irregularities in the company’s operations and in the vehicle involved in the accident: the tractor was not registered and lacked the corresponding administrative authorisation and civil responsibility insurance. Nor had it been MOTed.
The Guardia further determined that several of the workers had not done any kind of workplace accident prevention course, while the individual who got onto the tractors did not have the necessary driving licence.
The Guardia also found out the company owner had tried to blackmail and made threatening phonecalls to the hurt worker’s family to get them to keep quiet about what really happened.