Plastics company fined $220k over worker's death from fall at warehouse

Dawn Plastic Industries was fined $220,000 on June 21, 2016, over the death of its storeman at a warehouse last year.
Dawn Plastic Industries was fined $220,000 on June 21, 2016, over the death of its storeman at a warehouse last year.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A plastics company was on Tuesday (June 21) fined $220,000 over the death of its storeman at a warehouse last year.

Dawn Plastic Industries, which supplies plastic products to local and overseas markets, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

The company had failed to to take adequate safety measures for work carried out by its employees, in relation to loading and unloading goods from storage racks at its warehouse in Bukit Batok Street 23.

A district court heard that storeman Wong Sek Kiew, 38, a Malaysian, fell at the warehouse at about 6.30pm on Jan 20, 2015. He was taken to hospital but died at 8pm.

Investigations revealed that Dawn Plastic's employees had to climb up high levels at the warehouse using unsecured ladders. They also had to stand at the edges of storage racks at high levels.

But there were no guard-rails or safety barriers to prevent workers from falling from a high level, even though such rails or barriers are required in areas where employees are likely to fall by more than 2m.

The warehouse was also crammed, and boxes were stored in positions found to be unstable and prone to collapsing.

Among other things, Dawn Plastics failed to ensure that a risk assessment had been done, and safe work procedures established for its warehousing activities.

"The work activity involved employees storing and retrieving products on and off the storage racks, and therefore, the risk of falling from height was a foreseeable risk which should have been addressed by (the company)," said Ministry of Manpower prosecutor Delvinder Singh.

The $220,000 fine imposed on Dawn Plastics is the stiffest the courts have meted out to an employer in relation to a worker's death under the Workplace Safety and Health Act; the maximum punishment under the law is a $500,000 fine.