Death of worker in scaffolding collapse on Sentosa last year an accident, rules coroner

SINGAPORE - The death of a construction worker at a construction site near Palawan Beach in Sentosa last January was ruled a "misadventure of an industrial nature" by a state coroner on Monday.

Together with nine colleagues, Zhou Tonglin, 35, fell about 10m into wet concrete when the scaffolding they were standing on gave way under the weight of the concrete being poured into it.

The others escaped with injuries, but the Chinese national could not be revived after he was extricated. He suffocated to death after the incident on Jan 29 last year.

On Monday, State Coroner Marvin Bay said no foul play was suspected in Mr Zhou's death, adding that the collapse was "entirely accidental in nature".

The court said that Zhou worked for Genocean Construction, a subcontractor carrying out works such as building the formwork stucture and pouring in the concrete for a three-storey family entertainment centre that was scheduled for completion on Aug 17.

Investigations by the Manpower Ministry found that the formwork shoring system in question had not been made in line with specifications and professional designs.

A detailed analysis also uncovered pre-existing cracks in part of the structure, among other things.

It grew increasingly unstable as concrete was poured in, and collapsed.

The 10 workers, who had donned only safety helmets and not harnesses, fell from the second storey of the structure to ground level.

"I would thus find Mr Zhou's demise from suffocation from submersion in cement powder to be a most unfortunate misadventure of an industrial nature, and extend my deepest sympathies to his family," Coroner Bay said.