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DOHA: Qatar is not adequately investigating and reporting worker deaths, including unexplained fatalities among seemingly healthy labourers, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Friday, Reuters has reported.

The small but wealthy Gulf state, where foreigners make up the majority of the population, has faced scrutiny over worker conditions in the run-up to hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup next November.

Data collected at government-run trauma centres and ambulances in 2020 showed 50 workers died and more than 500 were severely injured, the ILO said.

“Most were suffered by migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, mainly in the construction industry. Falls from height and road traffic accidents were the top causes of severe injuries, followed by falling objects on worksites,” the report said.

The ILO said numbers could be higher as authorities do not classify all work-related deaths as such, including unexplained deaths among healthy workers and heat-related fatalities.

Data gap

That data gap should be addressed, with better injury investigations, Max Tuñón, head of the ILO’s Qatar office, told Reuters.

Qatar’s Labour Ministry said in a statement that “no other country has come so far on labour reform in such a short amount of time, but we acknowledge that there is more work to be done”. It said it was reviewing the ILO recommendations.

Qatar has introduced several labour reforms in recent years, including tougher rules to protect workers from heat and raising the minimum wage.

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