Workers seen 'abseiling' down Shenton Way construction site

SINGAPORE - Several workers secured only to ropes at a Shenton Way construction site were seen descending from a great height, in a heart-stopping sequence of events.

Footage sent to The Straits Times by reader Ros Chew showed at least five workers emerging from an opening in the upper levels of the 54-storey residential tower at integrated development V on Shenton, which is under construction.

Each worker was secured to a rope and descended in mid-air towards the foot of the building.

No gondola could be seen throughout the 1min 45sec video, which was taken on Wednesday (May 31) afternoon.

Speaking to ST, Ms Chew said she had filmed the video from her office at OUE Downtown - opposite the V on Shenton construction site - out of concern for the workers' safety.

"I saw several men abseiling from the construction site opposite twice, once in the morning and the second time in the afternoon," said Ms Chew, who works in a bank.

"They seemed to be holding on to white sacks."

According to its official website, V on Shenton is a flagship integrated development that comprises a 54-storey residential tower and a 23-storey office building.

Developed by United Industrial Corporation (UIC) Limited, it stands on the site previously occupied by the UIC Building.

A UIC Limited spokesman told ST that the workers were performing facade cleaning operations that began on Monday, adding that the workers involved were trained in rope access works.

"All the skilled workers involved in the facade cleaning are trained with Certification of Competence in Rope Access from the UK-affiliated Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (Irata International)."

According to the Irata International website, a rope access system is defined as a safe method of working at height where trained personnel use ropes and associated equipment to access places "which prohibit the use of other forms of access".

"Besides the main working rope, the workers are also equipped with a second safety rope. The workers work under close supervision of their immediate supervisor," said the UIC spokesman.

"Moreover, these workers are secured with approved specialized full body safety harness and personal protective equipment and are well-trained in the safe and correct use of the equipment," the spokesman elaborated, noting that rope access professionals are used to clean the facade of "many modern buildings".

The spokesman also said that a licensed specialist conducts daily checks on the rope and harness' condition and affirmed the company's commitment to the safety of workers.