5 workers have now died during 2014 World Cup preparations
MANAUS, Brazil (Reuters) — A Brazilian labour court ordered a partial stop to construction on the Arena Amazonia in the jungle city of Manaus after the death of a worker who fell off the stadium's roof raised safety concerns ahead of the 2014 soccer World Cup.
Public prosecutors asked for work "in all areas involving altitude" to be stopped pending investigations to guarantee workers' safety. The worker, Marcleudo de Melo Ferreira, 22, died in a Manaus hospital on Saturday.
"Around noon on Sunday we were notified of the labour court's order for a partial stoppage of work," the coordinator for UGP Copa, the umbrella co-ordination organization for all World Cup projects in Manaus, said in a statement.
"The decision should be applied to activities in high areas, notably the services of mounting the roof and facade of the Arena Amazonia."
The regional labour court did not answer phone calls requesting confirmation of the order, but local media said the decision had been made just before midnight on Saturday.
Andrade Gutierrez, the Brazilian firm building the stadium, was not immediately available for comment. The UGP statement said the company had immediately complied with the decision and was taking the appropriate measures to ensure the full resumption of work. Some construction would resume on Monday, the statement said.
Ferreira was the fifth construction worker to die in stadiums being built to host the World Cup in 12 cities. Later on Saturday, a construction worker in a nearby convention center that will host meetings during the World Cup, Jose Antonio da Silva Nascimento, was found dead. Family members blamed an intense work schedule for triggering a heart attack.
Fatal accidents had previously occurred in Manaus, Brasilia and most recently in Sao Paulo, where two people died on Nov. 27 after a crane collapsed in the arena that is to host the opening game on June 12.
Manaus is scheduled to host four World Cup games in June, including high-profile encounters involving teams from England, Italy, the United States and Portugal. The stadium is supposed to be ready by Jan. 15.
Preparations for the competition — the first to be held in South America since 1978 — have been plagued by delays, accidents, cost overruns, and public anger over government waste that contributed to massive nationwide street protests last year.