Tuas worker 46th person to die in a workplace accident this year

Workers working at a construction site.
Workers working at a construction site.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

A construction worker became the 46th person to die in the workplace this year when he was hit by a chain while building a stairwell in Tuas on Monday afternoon.

The man, who has not been identified, was standing nearby when a group of workers were lifting a formwork to cast a wall, according to the Manpower Ministry (MOM).

As they were doing so, one of the chains used to lift the formwork snapped, causing the remaining chain section to swing outwards and hit the man. He was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where he died at about 7pm on Monday.

The developer for the construction project is JTC Corporation and the main contractor is Tiong Seng Contractors, which was instructed to stop all lifting operations at the site.

The cause of the accident is being investigated. Attempts to reach Tiong Seng Contractors were unsuccessful.

The need to improve workplace safety and health was highlighted by Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan at the annual Workplace Safety and Health Awards last month.

He noted that while the workplace fatality rate had fallen from 4.9 per 100,000 employed people in 2004 to 1.9 last year, "poor safety and health practices are creeping back". Last year, 66 workers were killed in the workplace, up from 60 in 2014.

New measures have been announced to address workplace safety. These include allowing construction firms to pay lower levies for experienced, certified foreign workers trained in safety from October.

MOM also announced stiffer enforcement penalties in May, raising the minimum time for companies ordered to stop work, from two to three weeks. Companies also risk being deprived of new foreign workers until they have resolved safety issues.

The ministry added in the statement yesterday that employers and contractors are reminded to have a lifting plan for crane lifting operations.

"The lifting plan shall include the selection of appropriate lifting equipment, lifting gear and appliances, and the application of correct lifting methods," it said.

"Checks shall also be conducted on lifting equipment and lifting gear to ensure that they are in good working condition and free from defects."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2016, with the headline 'Tuas worker 46th person to die in a workplace accident this year'. Print Edition | Subscribe