Charge withdrawn for employee of cleaning firm allegedly linked to fatal fall at rooftop bar

Mr Shaun Tung Mun Hon died of a head injury after he fell into a 4m-deep pit at the 1-Altitude rooftop bar in 2019, which was then located at One Raffles Place. PHOTOS: REBECCA TUNG

SINGAPORE - A senior operations manager accused of lapses that led to the death of a part-time security officer, had his charge under the Workplace Safety and Health Act withdrawn on Thursday.

Mr Teo Eng Hua, 62, was then given a discharge amounting to an acquittal. This means that he cannot be charged again with the same offence. The reasons behind this move were not disclosed in court.

Mr Teo, who is still working for housekeeping, conservancy and cleaning contractor A&P Maintenance Services, told The Straits Times that he felt very relieved.

“The burden is not there any more,” he said after the court proceedings.

He had been accused of failing to take adequate steps to address the risks posed by a floor opening that led to the death of Mr Shaun Tung Mun Hon on June 9, 2019.

Mr Tung, 26, died of a head injury after he fell into a 4m-deep pit at the 1-Altitude rooftop bar, which was then located at One Raffles Place.

A&P Maintenance Services, which is expected to plead guilty on April 14, allegedly failed to conduct an adequate assessment of the risks posed by the floor opening of the pit at the rooftop. Inside the pit was a switch to operate a gondola used to clean the facade of One Raffles Place, a 63-storey building.

Mr Teo and the firm are represented by lawyer Raymond Lye, a managing partner at Union Law.

The two were among three firms and three men hauled to court in March 2022 over alleged safety lapses that led to the tragedy.

The other defendants include property developer OUB Centre and Rodney Yeo Kuang Hsing, 51, who was then one of its directors. They were accused of failing to ensure that the opening was covered or guarded by effective barriers to prevent a fall.

The remaining two defendants are restaurant and bar operator Synergyinthesky and Ong Han Peng, 50, its chief executive and managing director at the time of the tragedy.

They were accused of offences including failing to adequately consider the hazards created by the floor opening and implement the relevant risk control measures.

The cases involving these four parties are pending.

During a coroner’s inquiry, the court heard that the opening where Mr Tung fell through had been uncovered by workers tasked with cleaning the building’s facade.

He was shown the pit and briefed about it before he started his shift at the alfresco bar on the day of the fall.

Barricades and warning signs had been erected on the second floor of the nightspot, where the pit opening was located, to prevent guests from entering the area.

Then State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam, however, noted that the barricades could be pushed aside and the area around the pit was not illuminated.

Mr Tung spotted two men, who were not identified, entering the cordoned-off area at around 1.30am. He ran towards them while shining his torch to warn them, but failed to spot the pit himself and fell into it.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Then State Coroner Kamala said in August 2020 that the accident could have been avoided if safety standards had been observed.

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