Building companies defended their security measures yesterday after a man hijacked a skid loader from a worksite near Orchard Road and reportedly took it on a drunken rampage.
The vehicle - which resembles a miniature digger - piled into a concrete bollard, a bus stop and four taxis before coming to a stop near Orchard Towers in the early hours of Sunday morning.
No one was hurt and the man was later arrested for criminal trespass, theft, mischief and rash driving.
He apparently entered the area through an unlocked gate on the site, which is being developed by Shanghai Chong Kee. The company would not comment on the incident yesterday.
Five construction companies told The Straits Times yesterday that they ensure their sites are locked after hours or that security is on site. They added that such incidents are uncommon - even though there are no hard and fast rules to ensure security.
Yau Lee Construction said it puts turnstiles in place to monitor people entering and leaving. Workers are identified by their fingerprints, while visitors must register with guards before they are allowed entry.
The company's safety manager Belvin Tan, 47, added: "Security has to be tight or things can go missing."
At Tiong Seng Holdings, its vehicles must be parked in a designated area so supervisors can account for them at the end of the workday. Security guards conduct a second check before the area is locked up.
"Drivers also have to sign on a checklist to make sure that there is proper handover," said safety manager Duraisamy Raj, 42.
The company makes sure it has a small number of designated drivers, so access to the vehicles' keys remains limited. Their photographs are also posted in the site office.
Enforcement of these rules, however, may be another story.
Mr Manickam Sivaperuman, 43, safety manager of Progressive Builders, said workers may have a tendency to leave the keys in the vehicles if they take a short break - and there is even a perception that no one is likely to steal a vehicle from a construction site. Penalties for breaking site rules can include verbal warning and demerit points. Recalcitrant offenders are referred to human resources.
Mr Kelvin Ho, 43, safety manager of BBR Holdings, said: "There is motivation for these drivers to keep to the rules because driving is considered easier work. If they are disqualified from driving, they have to go back to doing hard labour."