The funeral of a young woman who died in a labour accident is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, with the incident shocking public opinion after she was crushed to death during a work safety month campaign.
The accident took place on Saturday in Strovolos, Nicosia, at a café restaurant on Tseriou Avenue, when 24-year-old Odysseia Iakovou Taylor went to get juice from the pantry room and was crushed by metal shelves that fell on her.
According to local reports, the shelves jammed the door which was shut, leaving Odysseia helpless inside the pantry, while the café was packed on a typical noon Saturday.
But her colleagues noticed her absence not immediately but several moments later when they realised she had been stuck.
Forensic pathologist Sofocles Sofocleous determined on Monday that Odysseia suffocated to death when the weight of the shelves caused her to have a collapsed lung.
Shelves were not affixed to the wall
Employers have a duty to assess risk effectively and take appropriate measures to protect the well-being of their workers and customers
The staff at the restaurant reportedly had complained about the shelves not being affixed to the wall, which could be a violation of labour standards that carry a fine up to €80,000.
Odysseia had started the job in early April and her older sister was also working there, according to reports, that also say the young woman was married to a refugee from Zimbabwe.
The couple, who had known each other since childhood, also had a 2-year-old daughter.
The victim’s husband, Henry Taylor, told reporters that Odysseia had changed jobs in order to be able to spend more time with her child, as both parents work odd hours and hardly saw each other.
Work safety campaign month
A Labour Department official, director Anastasios Yiannaki, went on television Monday to say that employers not only have to follow the law but they ought to be proactive in taking safety measures as an added precaution.
“They shouldn’t have to wait until inspectors spell those out for them,” Yiannaki said.
The department had begun a safety campaign, ironically just 10 days prior to the accident, where inspector plan to visit hotels, restaurants, and fast food establishments, to raise awareness among workers in the industry.
Yiannaki also reiterated that employers have a duty to assess risk effectively and take appropriate measures to protect the well-being of workers and customers alike.
Workers groups and activists are planning a demonstration on Thursday to protest what they say is an increase in labour accidents, citing Odysseia’s tragic loss as yet another example of something going very wrong within the industry.
Reported accidents in hotels and construction sites have been on the increase lately, with the Labour Ministry scrambling to find ways to address the problem.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Odysseia’s family.