Construction worker believed to have been electrocuted while using cement mixer

The Mapletree Business City construction site where the incident took place yesterday.
The Mapletree Business City construction site where the incident took place yesterday.ST PHOTO: JOANNA SEOW

It is believed he was electrocuted while trying to operate a handheld cement mixer

A construction worker was killed yesterday, believed to have been electrocuted as he used a cement mixer.

Mr Liu Cheng Long, 35, was using an electric handheld mixer at Mapletree Business City when he collapsed suddenly.

A colleague working nearby told The Straits Times that he saw Mr Liu, who is from China, trying to operate the machine without success when there was a sudden power surge. He saw Mr Liu shake silently for four to five seconds, then fall backwards.

Conditions had been rainy at the Pasir Panjang site.

 

The colleague, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "I ran over and unplugged the machine and called the safety supervisor."

He fell silent when asked how he felt.

Mr Ong Yong Seng, senior safety manager for the site's main contractor Shimizu Corporation, said a safety officer was able to revive Mr Liu using CPR and an automatic external defibrillator, though he remained unconscious.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it received a call for ambulance assistance at 11.50am, and took Mr Liu to the National University Hospital.

Shimizu and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) confirmed that Mr Liu died later.

The incident is the second fatality at the site in Alexandra Terrace.

A Bangladeshi worker was killed in January last year after a formwork panel toppled onto him.

Yesterday's incident is the latest in a string of 33 worksite fatalities so far this year - a figure which has caused concern among the authorities. It also comes less than a month after MOM announced stiffer penalties for companies lacking in workplace health and safety standards.

Work at the site has been stopped, and MOM and the Energy Market Authority are investigating.

Mr Ong said the firm is working with Mr Liu's employer to contact his next-of-kin "so that we can provide as much help as we can". This is likely to include financial aid.

He added that there are more than 100 workers at the site doing finishing work on the building, and that if the rain is too heavy, work in external areas is stopped. Mr Liu and other workers were working under shelter.

Mr Liu was a sub-contracted worker who had joined the site only on Tuesday, after around six months in Singapore.

An MOM spokesman said officers from the ministry's Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate immediately started investigations.

Companies with repeat offences involving fatalities can be fined up to $1 million under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

On May 12, MOM raised the minimum length of stop-work orders from two to three weeks.

Companies may also be barred from hiring new foreign workers until they have resolved safety issues.

Conditions for resuming work include conducting refresher training courses, improving site supervision and coordination as well as having a re-audit of the company's safety and health management system.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2016, with the headline 'China national latest worksite fatality'. Print Edition | Subscribe