Bangladeshi worker's electrocution an unfortunate industrial misadventure: Coroner

Mr Kabir Mohammad Faysal, 29, had been washing the rear of Block 158 Hougang Street 11 on June 5, 2016, when he collapsed suddenly. His death was ruled an "unfortunate industrial misadventure".
Mr Kabir Mohammad Faysal, 29, had been washing the rear of Block 158 Hougang Street 11 on June 5, 2016, when he collapsed suddenly. His death was ruled an "unfortunate industrial misadventure".PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A Bangladeshi conservancy worker was electrocuted while washing the floor at a Housing Board estate. He was bare-footed and using a high pressure water-jet that was not grounded, a coroner's court heard.

Mr Kabir Mohammad Faysal, 29, had been washing the rear of Block 158, Hougang Street 11, on June 5, 2016, when he collapsed suddenly.

A witness performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him before the paramedics arrived. Mr Faysal was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital unconscious, and died about two hours later.

In his findings on Tuesday (Nov 29), State Coroner Marvin Bay said the ATL Maintenance employee of almost five years had been tasked to clean and clear rubbish around residential estates.

He had returned from Bangladesh three days earlier, when he was asked to work overtime. He was given the cleaning job in Hougang that day.

Investigations by the Ministry of Manpower showed that the water jet's motor assembly and switch to be in good condition. But the cables of the plug were not well terminated. The live cable had been connected but was too long, and had been crammed inside the plug, compared to the neutral cable that was neatly connected to its terminal.

The ground cable was too short to be connected to its terminal and had its exposed end located near the live terminal.

Coroner Bay said Mr Faysal had received an electric shock when he came into contact with the energised metallic body of the spray gun.

His death was an "unfortunate industrial misadventure", said the coroner.

Apart from the misassembled plug, another major contributory cause has been Mr Faysal's failure to use any footwear while operating the electrically powered high pressure water jet, said Coroner Bay.

"Had Mr Faysal been using safety footwear, his shoes might well have provided adequate insulation to prevent a circuit from being completed through his body, and the lethal current consequently causing his demise," he said.

He said workers must conscientiously stick to wearing safety footwear in a work area to avert accidents, or mitigate the risk of injury or death.