Investigations by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed that four main lapses had led to an accident at a Fusionoplis worksite in 2014 that resulted in the deaths of two workers.
The findings were released by the ministry yesterday, after contractor GS Engineering & Construction Corp was handed a record $250,000 fine for failing in its duty to take adequate measures to ensure the safety and health of its employees at work.
The maximum prescribed fine under the Workplace Safety and Health Act is $500,000.
GS was engaged to build an 11-storey tower and an 18-storey tower with three basements at the worksite. The project started in November 2011 and was scheduled for completion by March 2014.
On Jan 22, 2014, five construction workers were instructed to load an air compressor onto a platform suspended by a tower crane at the edge of the seventh floor of the 11-storey tower, in order to move it up to the eighth floor.
When the air compressor was loaded, it rolled away from the edge of the building, causing the loading platform to tilt.
Two workers could not move away in time and fell out of the loading platform together with the air compressor.
Bangladeshi nationals Rajib Md Abdul Hannan, 24, and Ratan Roy Abinash Roy, 28, fell to the ground and died from multiple injuries.
Investigations by MOM's Occupational Safety and Health Division found four lapses.
First, it found that GS had failed to ensure that all workers were trained to use the loading platform.
Only one of the two workers had attended training conducted by a supplier of the lifting platform; there were no records to show that the other man was trained to install and dismantle the platform.
Second, MOM found that GS had failed to implement a safe system of work.
The company had a safety management system at the worksite, including a "permit to work" system for high-risk activities such as lifting operations.
However, there was no application for a permit for the lifting of the loading platform. There was also no lifting plan implemented for the safe lifting of the platform.
In addition, contrary to safe work procedures, no qualified lifting supervisor was present to supervise the lifting of the loading platform.
Third, MOM found that GS had failed to ensure that no loose objects were on the loading platform.
Fourth, GS had failed to ensure that the workers wore safety harnesses that were anchored securely to effectively arrest falls.
In any event, GS did not provide a lifeline, so the team would not have been able to anchor their harnesses, even if they had worn them.