Grand Lisboa Palace Construction Halted in Macau Following Worker’s Fatal Fall

Posted on: June 20, 2017, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: June 20, 2017, 03:11h.

Grand Lisboa Palace will likely have to push back its planned March 1, 2018 opening after construction was ordered to stop following yet another death on the property site.

Grand Lisboa Palace construction death
Workers drill on a construction site in Macau, but it’s quiet at the Grand Lisboa Palace after a second laborer fell to his death. (Image: Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, a 47-year-old construction worker fell some 33 feet to his death. It marks the second death since the $3.8 billion casino resort build began back in 2014. Last September, a worker was struck and killed by a piece of glass.

The tragic events have led the Macau government into ordering the property to halt construction. The Labour Affairs Bureau, a public department of the Macau Special Administrative Region responsible for overseeing occupational safety and health, will soon begin an investigation.

In a statement, the government agency explained, “The Labour Affairs Bureau has issued a suspension order to the contractor in order to protect the safety of other workers; and ordered the contractor to fully implement effective measures that improve occupational safety.”

The agency gave no indication as to how long its investigation might take, but added that construction “can only resume after receiving approval from the Labour Affairs Bureau.”

SJM Holdings, the company owned by billionaire Stanley Ho who held a monopoly on Macau gaming for decades, is developing the massive resort.

Unfortunate Part of the Job

Roofers, carpenters, steel workers, and other various construction jobs come with more risk than the average career. And in the casino business, there’s been numerous deaths from Macau to Las Vegas.

In March, a 43-year-old Chinese national working on the construction of the Imperial Pacific Resort Hotel in Saipan fell to his death. The FBI, which has jurisdiction over the western Pacific Ocean island since it’s a commonwealth of the United States, later made an arrest for alleged safety shortcomings.

While the deaths make plenty of headlines, the tragic loss of life on construction sites is actually relatively rate.

In 2014, Macau had over 60,000 hard-hat employees on project sites. But after 11 construction workers died over a two-year span, the city implemented additional safety rules governing contractors.

Losing It All in Las Vegas

Las Vegas wouldn’t be the city it is without the construction of the Hoover Dam. Today, Sin City is America’s playground, but during a five-year period between 1931 and 1936, Clark County offered migrants much more substantial risk than odds now found on casino floors.

Located about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, 112 workers lost their lives while building the Hoover Dam. The first was JG Tierney, a surveyor, and eerily, the last was his son, Patrick, an “electrician’s helper.”

While organized crime helped build the Las Vegas Strip, construction in the Mojave Desert has been relatively safe throughout the decades. That changed in 2006 with the building of CityCenter, a massive 76-acre complex developed by MGM Resorts and Dubai World, an investment company in the United Arab Emirates.

Anchored by the Aria, construction on CityCenter took the lives of 12 construction workers. The deadly project led to hearings in both chambers of Congress. The Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council eventually forced the developers to pay for additional safety training for workers, and allow union leaders full and continuous access to the work site.