Construction worker dies in fall at Woodlands worksite

The Mega@Woodlands construction site for an eight-storey industrial factory development. A formwork panel fell seven storeys over the edge of the building, taking the 33-year-old construction worker with it. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Mega@Woodlands construction site for an eight-storey industrial factory development. A formwork panel fell seven storeys over the edge of the building, taking the 33-year-old construction worker with it. He was pronounced dead at the scene.ST PHOTO: OLIVIA HO

A construction worker from China died on Sunday at a Woodlands site, bringing the workplace death toll this year to 49.

The 33-year-old fell seven storeys while working at the Woodlands Avenue 12 site, which is run by Wee Hur Construction.

The accident occurred at the Mega@Woodlands project, an eight-storey industrial factory development slated for completion in the fourth quarter of next year.

A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) spokesman said that at close to 9am on Sunday, a team of workers had been installing formwork - moulds into which concrete is poured - for a column on the seventh storey.

One of the formwork panels fell over the edge of the building, taking the victim with it. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His death came four days after a workplace health and safety conference last week, at which Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say warned that the workplace death rate was likely to go up this year.

There were 42 workplace fatalities in the first half of this year, compared with 30 in the same period last year.

Another worker from China in his 30s, who declined to be named, was surprised to hear of the accident at his worksite. "There was never a problem with the panels. I don't know why something went wrong."

MOM is investigating the cause of the accident and has issued a stop- work order at the site.

Said the spokesman: "Employers and contractors are reminded to implement clear procedures to safely install and dismantle formwork.

"If lifted by a mobile or tower crane, a formwork panel should always be properly supported and secured prior to being released, to prevent accidental toppling."

A Wee Hur spokesman said the victim was employed by one of its sub- contractors. He leaves behind his parents, wife and children. His family has been informed and the company is arranging bereavement support, said the spokesman.

He added: "Wee Hur is committed to workplace safety and has instructed its safety officers, foremen and sub-contractors to exercise greater caution at the worksite."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'Construction worker dies in fall at Woodlands worksite'. Print Edition | Subscribe