More fatal accidents in Singapore worksites
Posted in the Singapore Forum
#1 Jan 23, 2010
Jan 23, 2010
2 died from chemical explosion
By Irene Tham
TWO men died after an industrial accident in Jurong Island on Saturday.
It took place at Chemical Specialties, a Singapore-based chemical processing contractor.
The two workers, believed to be Malaysians, arein their 30s. They suffered cuts and bruises and were bleeding in the ears when the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived at the scene at 11.14am.
They were pronounced dead at 11.40am.
The Sunday Times understands that the workers were on top of a cylindrical tank - six-storey high and measuring 6m in diameter - when the accident happened.
When the SCDF arrived, one of the men was found lying about 5m to 10m from the tank. The other was about 30m away.
#2 Feb 20, 2010
June 11, 2009
Charged with safety failures
By Esther Tan
AFTER a 38-year-old foreign worker fell to his death, his employer allegedly strapped a safety belt on the body to fake that he had been following safety regulations.
On Thursday, Ng Choon Seng, 55, the sole proprietor of New Sun Electrical Contractor, was charged with modifying the accident scene in July last year.
New Sun was a subcontractor carrying out home renovations at 107A Gerald Drive, off Yio Chu Kang Road. The worker, Mr Pichaimuthu Dhanikodi, an Indian national, was installing a lightning conductor on the roof when he fell and died.
Ng faces two other charges, for employing Mr Dhanikodi without a valid work pass and for failing to ensure there were proper safety measures at the work site.
The main contractor, Tat Ho Builder, faces nine charges for not providing a safe work environment. A director of the company, Ng Tze Lik, was charged with not implementing the necessary safety measures.
Investigations by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed that there were no lines to hook on harnesses or barricades installed on the roof to prevent falls. Mr Dhanikodi got up by climbing the wooden scaffolding erected on the outside of the house.
The accident was the third case brought to court in the last two months involving a worker falling from height at a worksite.
In April, a subcontractor, Giftbuild, and its director Goh Eng Ban were fined $70,000 and $20,000 respectively for failing to ensure that a gondola was set up according to safety regulations and for not providing adequate training and supervision.
This resulted in the death of a worker, who slipped and fell 10 storeys while painting the exterior of a residential block. The main contractor, Jotun (Singapore), was fined $18,000 last month.
In May, a foreman was fined $6,000 when his worker fell from a height of about 23m. He had a safety belt on, but nowhere to anchor it.
#3 Feb 20, 2010
June 11, 2009
7 charged for worksite deaths
By Diana Othman
TWO sub-contractors and five others, inlcuding two company directors, have been charged by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) between April and June for failing to ensure the safety of workers doing work at height, resulting in three separate worksite deaths.
Falls from height is the top killer at workplaces in the last three years, making up three in every 10 workplace deaths. The majority of the cases were from the construction and marine sectors, which account for more than 70 per cent of such accidents.
The latest three parties hauled to court on Thursday include Construction company Tat Ho Builder and its director Ng Tze Lik over the death of a worker who fell from an inclined roof of a house under construction. The worker fell while installing a lightning conductor on the roof. There were no lifelines or preventive barricades installed on the main roof, said MOM.
The charges carry a maximum fine of $500,000 and $200,000 respectively.
Separately, Ng Choong Seng, sole proprietor of New Sun Electrical Contractor, was also charged on Thursday with failing to take measures to ensure the safety of the worker. He faces a fine of up to $200,000 and jail of up to two years.
In another fatality on April 3, a worker employed by Giftbuild Pte Ltd was painting a canopy above the 10th storey corridor of a residential block in Bukit Bstok East when he slipped and fell to his death.
MOM charged three parties in connection with this case - the sub-contractor Giftbuild, which was fined $70,000, its director Goh Eng Ban, who was fined $20,000 and the occupier of the worksite Jotun (S) Ptd, which was fined $8,000.
In the third case, foreman Sun Yi Kun of Eng Lim Construction was charged over the death of a worker who fell 23 metres off a landing. Sun was fined $6,000.
"These cases showed that simple safety measures conscientiously applied could have save the three workers," said MOM in a statement on Thursday.
"The responsibility of preventing such accidents must fall squarely on all stakeholders."
To help the industry raise safety standards for work at height, the Workplace Safety and Health Council has worked with key industry players and MOM on a draft Code of Practice on Safe Working at Height.
The draft Code requires workplaces to implement a Fall Protection Plan, which was first announced by Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong at the launch of the National WSH Campaign on April 28..
The plan identifies fall hazards in the workplace and puts in place fall prevention measures like barricades and safe access.
#4 Mar 17, 2010
Crane topples, killing worker
05:55 AM Mar 18, 2010A 32-year-old Malaysian worker was killed when the boom of a tower crane toppled and hit him at a construction site in Punggol yesterday evening. Three others - a 40-year-old Chinese national, a 30-year-old Thai and a 33-year-old Bangladeshi - were sent to Changi General Hospital with injuries. The SCDF said it received a call at 5.24pm about the accident at the junction of Punggol Central and Punggol Road, where construction of HDB flats is underway. Its officers arrived at the scene at 5.32pm and pronounced the victim dead
#5 Mar 17, 2010
Construction crane topples over at NUS, killing 3 men
By Hoe Yeen Nie, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 22 February 2008 2230 hrs
SINGAPORE: Three workers were killed when a crane collapsed on them at a construction site at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Friday afternoon.
The 60-metre crane toppled over at 2.15pm, crashing into a bus stop and several motorcycles that were parked nearby.
By the time the Civil Defence rescue team arrived, three workers had died. One of them, a Chinese national, was found beside the wreckage. The other two were crushed underneath.
One of the trapped men was a 47-year-old Singaporean crane operator and the other was an Indian national.
It took rescue officers 45 minutes to extricate them – a job made difficult by the tangle of steel bars protruding from the ground.
Two other workers with minor abrasions were rushed to the nearby National University Hospital.
The Manpower Ministry (MOM) said the main contractor, Kimly Construction, has not had any fatal accidents over the last two years.
Work on the NUS Alumni Complex is scheduled to be completed this April, but MOM has ordered a full stop work order while investigations are being carried out
#6 Mar 17, 2010
These workers are some young persons coming here to earn a decent living in our republic by constucting our infrastructure. We owe it to them to provide a safe environment to work.
Shame and blame our Singapore construction authorities to let these accidents occur so frequently.
My heart goes out to the Malaysian family for losing their young 32 year old so unnecssarily.
#7 Mar 18, 2010
Mar 18, 2010
2 killed in work mishaps
Metal pipe falls on one; crane jib pins another and injures three others
By Carolyn Quek & Mavis Goh
TWO foreign workers were killed and three others injured in two separate worksite accidents yesterday afternoon, as the workplace fatality rate continues to rise.
More safety talks and increased audits for new factories and worksites are some of the measures that have been introduced over the years to stem the number of deaths.
Yet, 70 workers lost their lives last year, up from 67 in 2008.
The overall fatality rate last year stood at 2.9 per 100,000 workers, up from 2.8 in the previous year.
In the first of yesterday's two mishaps, a 39-year-old Bangladeshi worker died in a shipyard after he was trapped under a metal pipe that fell on him.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the worker was engaged in grinding work at Sembcorp Marine subsidiary SMOE, a company that makes offshore production platforms.
#8 Mar 18, 2010
Rise in fatalities spurs tighter enforcements
by Lin Yan Qin
05:55 AM Jan 13, 2010
SINGAPORE - An increase in workplace fatalities for the first time since 2005 means there is "still more to be done" to imbibe a strong safety culture in the workplace.
Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong stated this in Parliament yesterday, when he announced that as of last October, the number of fatal accidents at work sites was 2.9 per 100,000 workers - compared to 2008's rate of 2.8.
To enhance safety, Mr Gan said - in response to a query from Jurong Member of Parliament Halimah Yacob - that new initiatives like the National Crane Safety Taskforce and the National Work-at-Height Taskforce were established last year.
These look into better managing safety in these areas, as work-at-heights and crane lifting operations accounted for close to half of the 70 fatalities last year.
The Ministry has also tightened enforcement, with an island-wide blitz last month, and six stop work orders and 179 fines and warnings were issued to 29 worksites.
Sectoral plans for the construction and marine sectors are also being developed to improve safety management in these two sectors, which accounted for almost two-thirds of fatalities last year.
The whistleblowing mechanism for reporting safety lapses has also been "valuable", with a quarter of the 60 tip-offs each month coming from workers.
Poorly managed sub-contracting work was also a "challenge" to workplace safety and health.
And while smaller companies may have resource constraints, it was "no excuse" for any loss of lives. Larger companies contracting work to these companies should act as "mentors" to prevent fatalities and accidents, the minister said. LIN YANQIN
#9 Mar 22, 2010
Mar 22, 2010
Rise in workplace deaths
By Melissa Pang
THE number of work injuries in Singapore has fallen for the first time since 2006, but fatalities also rose for the first time in three years.
The annual Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) report released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Workplace Safety and Health Council on Monday showed that the total number of work injuries declined 2.1 per cent last year, while fatalities rose by 4.5 per cent - 3 more fatalities than in 2008.
Workplace fatality rate rose from 2.8 deaths per 100,000 persons employed in 2008, to 2.9 in 2009, which MOM sees as a 'need to strengthen efforts on key factors that contribute to workplace fatalities'.
Most of the fatalities - 63 per cent - occurred in the construction and marine sectors. Disablements and occupational diseases also saw improved records, with the latter plunging by almost half, from 855 in 2008 to 468 in 2009.
WSH Council Chairman Lee Tzu Yang called on industries to 'take a timely relook at their WSH practices' as 'WSH and productivity are closely intertwined'.
'They must do more to keep workers safe at work, prevent unnecessary loss of life, while playing a role to drive productivity,' he added.
#10 Mar 23, 2010
Mar 23, 2010
10-year plan to boost safety
COMPREHENSIVE plans to improve safety standards in the construction and marine sectors over the next 10 years were launched on Tuesday.
The plans, initiated in mid-2009 to develop key strategies to halve fatalities in the sectors by 2013, were unveiled by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower.
The plan for the construction sector covers four key strategies to improve safety standards and enhance productivity. It will aims to address the sector's loss of almost 260,000 man-days due to serious incidencts in 2009, a 20 per cent increase from 2008.
The strategies for the marine sector includes developing a ship-owner's guide on relevant safety and health regulations for vessels that enter Singapore waters and setting up a Marine Industry Training Centre to help smaller shipyards.
Construction sector continues to register the highest number of workplace fatalities, with 31 deaths last year - up from 25 in 2008, or a rate of 8.1 per cent per 100,000 workers.
The marine sector reported 13 fatalities in 2009, which is 11.1 per 100,000 employees, compared to 9.2 per 100,000 in 2008.
MOM's Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health Ho Siong Hin welcomed the new sectoral plans and urged all parties to give their strong support.
#11 Apr 13, 2010
Tamil worker killed in explosion at Singapore shipyard
TNN, Jun 11, 2008, 03.10am IST
CHENNAI: Karuppan Arjunan, a native of Tamil Nadu, died on Sunday of burn injuries suffered during an explosion on board a supply vessel being repaired at Tuas dock in Singapore.
Sources said Karuppan was one of the 14 shipyard workers and crewmen injured in the explosion. One person died.
The cause of the blast which occurred when workers were painting a tank is still not known. Karuppan was considering returning to India but fate willed otherwise. He leaves behind his wife and three children.
Kreuz Shipbuilding and Engineering, which owns the shipyard where Karuppan was employed, put up a statement on its website on Monday declining to comment on the cause of the fire.
Sunday's blaze was the second accident in two months at the Kreuz shipyard, sources said. Karuppan's cousin Rajakumar had told some people that the former wanted to return home as work was very tiring in Singapore. He added that his relative had come to Singapore over three years ago seeking a better life for his wife and three young sons, who are aged between three and six years old.
Karuppan's family, which awaits his body, faces a bleak future. He was the sole breadwinner.
Labourers from the state, who leave behind the families, work in poor conditions abroad. Recently, a cargo ship coming from Colombo to Chennai caught fire putting the lives of the workers on board under threat.
#12 Apr 13, 2010
Apr 13, 2010
Record fine for shipyard
By Khushwant Singh
THE shipyard accidents two years ago took the lives of three workers and injured 10 others.
On Tuesday, Kreuz Shipbuilding & Engineering was fined $200,000 - the biggest fine ever imposed on a marine firm. Its project manager Wong Chun Hoong, 37, was fined $70,000 for safety violations in the April accident.
Investigations revealed that the workers were asked to use pressurised oxygen to test the pressure the new hydraulic pipes on a barge could take. The correct testing equipment was lacking, causing a fire and several explosions which injured four workers.
The second accident occurred two months later and claimed three lives on the vessel Rainbow Star. Workers were spray-painting the interior of four water ballast tanks when a flash fire broke out. Three workers died while six others suffered burns. They were aged between 21 and 42.
Kreuz admitted to failing to ventilate the tanks adequately and allowing the build up of flammable gases.
Ship repair manager Lim Tan Kheng Yong, 55 was fined $15,000 for not taking adequate safety measures.
#13 Apr 13, 2010
2 companies & 3 workers plead guilty to failing to ensure workplace safety
By Lynda Hong | Posted: 01 April 2010 2026 hrs
SINGAPORE: Two companies from the marine industry and three of their workers pleaded guilty in court on Thursday for failing to ensure workplace safety.
One of the firms is Kreuz Shipbuilding and Engineering. It was held responsible for two incidents in 2008.
One involved a fire on board a vessel where four people were injured.
Its project manager allowed compressed oxygen to be used to test the pipes subsequently leading to the explosion.
About two months later, a flash fire broke out on a vessel, killing three and injuring six others.
The repair manager approved the permit-to-work without making sure that all safety measures were in place.
Another company, Prime Marine, pleaded guilty to an accident on 15 December 2007.
Two men died and another suffered burns after inhaling toxic Hydrogen Sulphide gas.
All the accused will be sentenced later this month.- CNA/vm
Prime Marine was the second company which pleaded guilty on Thursday.
It was responsible for an accident that on board a ship, the MT Anjasmoro, on 15 December 2007.
The vessel was then anchored at the Western Petroleum Anchorage.
Two men died and another suffered burns to his respiratory system after inhaling toxic Hydrogen Sulphide gas while working there.
The men were assigned to clean a tank and they entered it even though it contained a high concentration of the gas.
Investigations revealed that Prime Marine had failed to provide them with safety equipment such as breathing devices and personal gas monitors.
One of its supervisors, Png Aik Meng, had told the men to enter the tank even though it was dangerous to do so.
All accused parties will be sentenced later this month.
#14 Apr 13, 2010
Another fatal shipyard accident
By JERMYN CHOW
The Straits Times
Indian national's death raises tally of industry's fatalities to nine since June
THE death toll in Singapore's beleaguered shipyard industry continues to climb as another worker died yesterday, bringing the tally to nine since June.
Indian national Sathiyamoorthy Siva is believed to have fallen into a 21m-deep water tank on a Japanese-registered oil tanker.
The 21-year-old was last seen by fellow workers yesterday morning on the deck of the Eneos Breeze carrying an air hose, which was being used to repair the water tank.
His body was found at 8am at the bottom of the tank.
The ship was undergoing repairs at the Keppel Shipyard in Tuas.
A Ministry of Manpower spokesman said investigations are ongoing, but preliminary findings show that Mr Sathiyamoorthy's work did not require him to enter the tank.
In the meantime, the ministry has stopped all work onboard the Eneos Breeze.
Mr Sathiyamoorthy was working for a subcontractor at Keppel Shipyard, one of the world's largest shipbuilding and repair companies.
The subcontractor, Harvest Marine Service, is based in the shipyard.
Mr Sathiyamoorthy's manager, known only as Mr Ganesan, told The Straits Times that the victim was not married and his family was in India.
His co-workers did not know much about him. He was said to be a quiet man who kept to himself.
His death yesterday came just over a month after safety officials urged shipyards to call an unprecedented "time-out" from work to review safety procedures.
Besides the nine deaths, 18 other workers have been hurt in the past 11 weeks.
The run of deaths and injuries comes at a time when the shipping sector is booming.
Last year, the marine and offshore industry rang in $13.05 billion in total output, a 33 per cent jump from 2006.
Safety officials are still fanning across the island to carry out spot checks on the 89 shipyards here.
Next month, the Workplace Safety and Health Council will organise a forum for more than 300 shipyard managers and safety experts to raise safety standards – the second since last month.
Council chairman Lee Tzu Yang said that he will focus on making companies work harder to pass the message down to "every single worker".
Mr Lee added: "It is clear that top management in shipyards needs to emphasise that safety is not to be compromised.
"True commitment must translate into action on the ground and a real improvement in safety practices."
#15 Apr 13, 2010
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Workplace deaths up in first six months
The following article was published in the Straits Times on 15 Oct 2009.
Workplace deaths up in first six months
By Jermyn Chow
15 October 2009
Decline in the fatality rate shows worrying signs of flattening
FOR five years running, the number of people who died on the job went down.
Then, in the first half of this year, 36 workers died. This was up from 31 in the same period last year, said the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council yesterday.
The workplace fatality rate also increased slightly, from 1.4 deaths per 100,000 people employed in the first half of last year to 1.5 this year. If there is no improvement, the full year's death rate might well hit three per 100,000.
More workers were also disabled permanently. Seventy lost fingers or limbs in the first half of this year, compared with 59 in the same period last year.
The deaths were across sectors, although construction and marine work accounted for half the deaths.
Three in 10 fatalities were workers who fell to their deaths, and most were in these two sectors. Two in 10 were hit by falling objects.
The numbers worry Mr Lee Tzu Yang, chairman of the WSH Council.
He noted that the fatality rate slid from 4.9 per 100,000 workers in 2004 to 2.8 last year, and that the latest numbers show that the decline has flattened.
Singapore hopes to bring down the rate to 1.8 deaths per 100,000 workers by 2018.
What is alarming too is the number of accidents which ended with deaths - 36 died in 33 accidents in the first half of this year, compared with 31 deaths from 25 accidents in the same period last year.
Mr Lee hoped that everyone - from bosses to workers - would make workplace safety his own responsibility.
The council is also preparing an index system to measure the safety culture of sectors or companies, so they can quantify their practices and improvements against a benchmark.
The Singapore Contractors Association (Scal) said the rise in fatalities in the construction sector has accompanied the building boom in recent years.
In fact, the death rate in the sector dipped from 3.4 per 100,000 workers in the first half of last year to 3.1 in the same period this year, noted Scal.
It said that construction work had intensified in recent months as contractors finished projects such as those at the integrated resorts and the Marina Bay financial centre.
Scal executive director Simon Lee said the association, which has about 2,000 members, is pushing employers to send their workers to workshops on workplace safety and health, and to implement safety management plans.
The WSH Council said a slew of programmes had been started to get the construction and marine sectors to improve safety and cut deaths.
A national taskforce for crane safety announced its plans recently.
Later this month, a similar high-level taskforce on work at heights will announce measures to deal with workplace hazards that can lead to falls.
The Manpower Ministry's Workplace Safety and Health Commissioner Ho Siong Hin said government safety inspectors will keep up surprise checks on worksites islandwide and penalise errant employers and those who put the lives of workers in danger.
One bright spot in the workplace safety report is that the number of occupational disease cases has come down.
All sectors logged 252 cases in the first half of the year, down from 285 for the same period last year. Most were cases of noise-induced deafness and skin diseases.
#16 Apr 13, 2010
Employer's Fear of Authorities Caused the Death of Illegal Worker
By Global News Digest
The New Paper -- Singapore
Posted November 26, 2007
Singapore - Xiu Chuntao was a 28 years old migrant worker from China. Four years ago he left his family -- a wife and son, his parents and his wife's parents -- in Liaoning, China in search of work in other parts of China. He was the sole bread-winner of the family.
Nine months ago, an opportunity came for him to leave China and go to work in Singapore. He jumped at the chance and excitedly told his wife back in Liaoning, China that he could earn as much as $50 (Singapore) a day. He promised his wife and their parents to give them a comfortable life. Shortly before his fatal accident, he had also spoken to his two year old son over the phone and told the little boy that he "wants to make enough money to buy him a big house back home."
"When he first told me about coming to work here, he was so excited. He told me and our parents that we can look forward to a better life in future as he could earn as much as $50 a day here," Xiu's 26 years old wife, Qiu Huan, said.
The accident that killed Xiu Chuntao, which occurred on October 25 at a building construction site. He fell off some scaffolding and landed several floors below. He did not die immediately. The accident left his employers debating what to do. Mr. Chuntao was an illegal worker without a work permit. Singapore has very strict rules about work in the city-state. After about 30 minutes of phone calls back and forth between the foreman and his manager, the foreman decided to send Chuntao to the Singapore General Hospital. By this time, the victim had bled so much and was barely breathing, according to eye witness co-workers.
#17 May 4, 2010
Worker dies after 9-metre fall
by Teo Xuanwei
05:55 AM May 05, 2010
A Bangladeshi worker died in hospital yesterday from the injuries he sustained after falling from a height of 9m. The 25-year-old was carrying out air-conditioning works inside Changi Airport's Terminal 1 departure hall when he fell, eyewitnesses said.
Responding to MediaCorp queries, a Changi Airport Group (CAG) spokesperson said the worker, an employee of Air System Technology, was attended to by doctors from Raffles Medical Group before paramedics arrived.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it received a call at 1.51pm about the accident. The worker, who suffered fractures to his limbs and also hurt his head, was sent to the Changi General Hospital where he was subsequently pronounced dead.
The CAG spokesperson said: "We are saddened by the news of his death and extend our condolences to his family and loved ones. Changi Airport Group places the highest priority on safety and we are treating this accident seriously." He added all construction work at the site has been suspended until further notice while CAG works with its contractors to determine the cause of the accident.
The police and the Ministry of Manpower are investigating. TEO XUANWEI
#18 May 5, 2010
Your daily dose of news at http://smashthepapers.blogspot.com
#19 May 5, 2010
Feb 15, 2010
Accident kills foreign worker
By Maria Almenoar
A FOREIGN worker died after a lorry driver apparently lost control of his vehicle and ploughed into three pedestrians at a dormitory in Toh Guan Road East early Monday morning.
The driver, a 36-year-old Indian national, is now under arrest for suspected drink-driving.
The police said the accident happened shortly after 1am as the lorry was turning round the bend on the road. It mounted a kerb, hit a fire hydrant and narrowly missed a tree before slamming into the pedestrians and the Westlite Dormitory's compound wall and fence.
The dead man, 25, was a resident at the dormitory and worked at Mun Siong Engineering. The dormitory, which has 4,000 workers, is one of several places where foreign workers are housed in the area.
His name was not disclosed as his family has not been informed.
He was trapped under the lorry and had to be extricated by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) using hydraulic spreaders.
#20 May 7, 2010
Posted on 07 May 2010
Workers violate safety rules at workplace, one does not even wear helmet
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