Dubai: A 55-year-old porter who worked in the Al Aweer Fruit and Vegetable Market was found dead on Sunday morning after spending the night in an onion container.
The Indian porter, identified as S.B., suffocated in the container, said Brigadier Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Director of Dubai Police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
During the night, the onions absorbed all the oxygen in the closed container, suffocating the worker as he slept, said Brigadier Al Mansouri, adding that the man's blue lips indicated the reason behind the death.
Although there was no reason to suspect criminal involvement, the man's body was taken to the forensic evidence laboratory for an autopsy.
Brigadier Al Mansouri highlighted the risk of sleeping in a closed space with plants, as the plants take in oxygen and emit carbon dioxide at night, which in huge quantities can harm or even kill.
The worker's colleagues opened the container around 7am yesterday to offload the bags of onions and found the body of their colleague.
S.B. lived in Hor Al Anz, but on Saturday night he was too exhausted to go home, according to his co-workers. He decided to spend the night in the market and sleep in the container.
Workers that Gulf News spoke to at the Fruit and Vegetable Market were shocked to hear of the worker's death, as it was not common practice to sleep in containers, according to them.
One of them said that if a worker wanted to sleep during his break, he would probably sleep for an hour or two in the back of a pick-up truck, which is an open space, but never overnight in a closed container.
The CID will implement an awareness campaign in cooperation with Rashidiya Police Station to spread awareness among porters and workers at the Vegetable and Fruit Market about staying safe and avoiding hazards.
Since most of the workers are not fully aware of the hazards they may face, the workers will be educated in their own languages about basic safety and security principles, Brigadier Al Mansouri said.