Firm fined $230,000 over Sentosa accident which caused worker to suffocate in wet concrete

Part of the formwork at the construction site of a family entertainment centre near Palawan Beach, Sentosa, which collapsed at about 3.10pm on Jan 29, 2014.
Part of the formwork at the construction site of a family entertainment centre near Palawan Beach, Sentosa, which collapsed at about 3.10pm on Jan 29, 2014. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Worker suffocated in wet concrete, 10 others hurt when part of formwork collapsed

A building subcontractor failed to ensure its formwork structures for poured concrete were safe, resulting in the death of a worker and injuries to 10 others when part of the formwork collapsed.

Genocean Construction was yesterday fined $230,000, after it pleaded guilty to contravening the Workplace Safety and Health Act at the worksite in Beach View on Sentosa.

The 11 construction workers were casting concrete on top of the formwork, when part of it collapsed on Jan 29, 2014. They fell about 10m into wet concrete. Mr Zhou Tonglin, 35, suffocated, while the rest suffered injuries from minor cuts and abrasions to fractures.

Genocean had been engaged to carry out structural works for a three-storey family entertainment centre. Investigations showed that the shoring for the formwork in question had not been made in line with specifications and a professional engineer's design.

A detailed analysis also uncovered pre-existing cracks in some parts of the structure, among other things. It grew increasingly unstable as concrete was poured in.

Genocean had been engaged to carry out structural works for a three-storey family entertainment centre. Investigations showed the shoring for the formwork in question had not been made in line with specifications and a professional engineer's design.

Ministry of Manpower prosecutor Ameerhan Shikandar said the company did not ensure that a risk assessment was conducted or safe work procedures developed for the shifting of the shoring system.

No inspection was conducted by the formwork supervisor to ensure that the structure was safe before allowing casting to start.

Mr Ameerhan had sought a fine of at least $250,000, citing serious actual harm as an aggravating factor.

The company, represented by Mr Desmond Tan, was allowed to pay $100,000 by April 25 and the balance in two equal instalments of $65,000 each.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2017, with the headline 'Building firm fined $230,000 over Sentosa fatal accident'. Print Edition | Subscribe