Sunday, July 3

Seven years, seven months and five days, the long wait until the trial for a fatal heat stroke in the pit in Seville

It is not a criminal proceeding with defendants in pretrial detention. It is not a “cause with a prisoner”, as the red stamp on the judicial files says, which are given preference in their processing. But the fact that 2,777 days pass from an event with the result of death until his trial is “a long time”, says Carlos Aristu, general secretary of the CCOO of Seville on account of the oral hearing that will be held between February 17 and 21, 2025 for the death of Rafael Luque, in which the union exercises popular accusation as in the rest of the deaths in the pit in the province.

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We are talking about the work accident that occurred on July 12, 2017 on the A-406 road, between Morón de la Frontera and El Saucejo, when the worker died that day at 9:00 p.m. in full orange alert in Seville due to high temperatures, such as that of these days, in a work that was not urgent, that did not have a work safety coordinator and that was supposed to be carried out under the provincial agreement of the construction sector, which that month has stipulated that the day end at 2:30 p.m. The Prosecutor’s Office asks for three years in prison for each of the four defendants.

For Aristu, this type of occupational accident, resulting in death, should be “exemplary actions” from the point of view of seeing what happened, who did not do things as they should and how it could be prevented from happening again, but “it is not So”. In this case, as in many others, the lengthy procedure and the loss of a family’s possible main source of income mean that the company “ends up negotiating compensatory damages to reach a prior agreement or, directly, so that the courts consider The procedure has been completed.”

The families of the victims in this type of accident are the ones that “bear the affective loss” and, in this specific case, “have to wait almost 3,000 days for the responsibility to begin to be settled” something that, for other cases, can even discourage families from denouncing “when we are talking about deaths and crimes against the rights of workers.” For Aristu, these “delays” are also very serious in the social jurisdiction, in charge of resolving dismissals, claims for amounts or Social Security benefits.

In February 2025, the sole administrator of the company in charge of the work, the head of work and author of the prevention plan, the technical director of the company and another employee who had assigned the obligations of monitoring compliance with preventive activities.

It was not an urgent work

Luque, 54 years old, had the professional category of truck driver even though it also seems that he also sometimes held the position of machinery driver (asphalt sweeper driver). Shortly before he died, according to the prosecutor’s indictment, he “was hitting the edge of the hopper with a shovel with the machine.” After this work “he sat on the ground, had convulsions and lost consciousness”, finding his death “due to multi-organ failure due to heat stroke”. The prosecutor points out, among many other issues, that “the extension of the asphalt and in summer its temperature could reach 140 to 150 degrees Celsius.” He, apparently as an asphalt laborer, was in charge that day of equalizing with a brush the two layers of asphalt agglomerate that had been spread in both directions of the road“. The works in which Rafael participated were allegedly carried out so that the road was in the correct state so that a stage of the 72nd edition of the Vuelta Ciclista a España would run through it, specifically on September 1, 2017. ”In the Daily reports of work of the work on July 11 and 12 show that the deceased worked twelve hours a day, “highlights the prosecutor.

“All the workers were in a situation of potential risk due to the working conditions for their physical integrity and health,” highlights the prosecutor. According to his account of the case, where the popular accusation is brought by the CCOO union, the work reports for the day the worker died do not include the start and end times but “it is proven that work began around 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. until the time of the accident, although they ended after 8:00 p.m. For the Prosecutor’s Office, “there is no evidence” that there was a prior agreement between the company and the workers for the continuation of work during the day outside the hours of the aforementioned agreement. “The crew stopped working and went to have lunch at a nearby sale, a lunch that lasted just over an hour, even though there is no evidence that the lunch break had a time determined by the company,” says the letter to which it has had access. Andalusia.

Construcciones Maygar SL had signed a contract with the Junta de Andalucía in July 2014 for the provision of pavement maintenance services on the Andalusian road network in Seville, which was subsequently extended until July 2018. Before, in 2015, the In 2015, the Board formalized a service contract with another company, Ingeniería Atecsur SL, for the coordination of health and safety in the works of the regional road network. In other words, the technical direction of the works, like the one Rafael worked on, and the coordination of their safety and health depended on two administrative departments, different from the Ministry of Housing and Development. October 25, 2016 was the last visit to the site by a health and safety coordinator.

Sources from the company Construcciones Maygar already briefly indicated to Andalucía that Rafael Luque’s family had “withdrew the accusation” during the investigation of the case, although they did not want to make statements regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of one of their workers. “We are a very small company, we consider the workers as part of the family and all this has affected us a lot,” they commented from Construcciones Maygar, with whom this newspaper has contacted again for their assessment about the date of the signal. of the trial, although they did not want to comment on it.

For their part, sources from Ingeniería Atecsur SL indicate to this medium that they already exposed during the Instruction process everything that was requested of them to clarify the facts until their knowledge, making it clear that “at no time was the work unassisted by the coordinator”. In fact, “neither the court nor the prosecutor finally directed any accusation against the coordinator, nor against Atecsur, as they did not appreciate reproach in their behavior”, they remember from the company.

No knowledge of the work

The prosecutor recounts in his indictment that, a month before the accident, the health and safety coordinator during the execution phase of the works informed his company, Atecsur, that at the end of the working day on June 26 he would cause voluntary dismissal at your job. “It was not until July 18, 2017 [seis días después del accidente laboral] when the change in health and safety coordinator was communicated to the General Directorate of the Andalusian Government, “says the Prosecutor’s Office, which, based on this, points out that “on the day of the accident there was no coordinator who was in charge of safety and health of the work”, “nor does it appear that Atecsur had previously notified the administrative authority of the removal of the previous one”.

Atecsur sources add in this regard that they were intermittent maintenance actions on the road network of the Board, so “it was necessary to notify the health and safety coordinator in advance about the start date of each action. and its exact location so that he could make his verification visits. In that case, according to the sources, “no such communication was made”, so for the company “there was no knowledge of the action until they were notified of the unpleasant fact” of Rafael Luque’s death.

The prosecutor recalls that, according to the contract for the execution of works, a distinction was established between urgent and scheduled works. The first would be those actions that had to be carried out immediately upon detection of their need: repair of potholes or deformations produced in the road, whatever their cause, and that their existence entails a danger to road safety, a road hazard criterion according to the Administration. The works in which the worker died consisted of correcting grade deformations by spreading artificial gravel and executing hot bituminous mix for rolling. “From what has been done, it does not follow that the work was of an urgent or emergency nature,” says the prosecutor. On that road, and for other sections, permission had been requested from the Provincial Traffic Headquarters to carry out maintenance work using a standardized model and authorization was then received from it.

The deceased worker began his employment relationship with the company Construcciones Maygar under a contract for work or service determined in October 2016 ‘driver-asphalt/machinist operator asphalt/salaried truck driver’ for a conservation work in Benaoján (Málaga) but the day when his death occurred, he was not providing services as a driver of any vehicle. He hadn’t practically done it since he was hired, having performed functions typical of a second-class officer. He was declared fit by the company for a period of one year until the next medical exam, which was scheduled for October. “There is no previous evidence in the deceased worker of any previous pathology that would make him more sensitive to work with high temperatures,” says the prosecutor.