Forklift driver jailed after fatal accident where unsecured steel bars fell on man

Tay Poh Seng was sentenced to two months' jail for causing the death of a lorry driver at CWT Logistics Hub 3 in Tanjong Penjuru. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/NAVIN KUMAR

SINGAPORE - A forklift driver was ferrying an unsecured load of steel bars on the fork in an elevated position when the bars fell on a lorry driver's head.

Lorry driver Amarasingam Subramaniam, 54, immediately crumpled to the ground, facing upwards. Seconds later, another bundle of steel bars rolled off the fork and landed on his chest. He died from multiple injuries at CWT Logistics Hub 3 at Tanjong Penjuru, fourth level, on May 9, 2017.

For his rash act causing death, Tay Poh Seng, 52, was sentenced to two months' jail on Monday (Oct 23). He pleaded guilty.

The court heard that Tay began his work shift at about 8.30am that day and performed one round of loading of steel bars onto the lorry driven by Mr Amarasingam.

About two hours later, Mr Amarasingam returned to Tanjong Penjuru for another round of steel bars to be loaded onto the lorry.

Tay then loaded two bundles of steel bars, each weighing about one tonne, onto his forklift without securing them to the forklift.

Mr Amarasingam was helping to open the left and right side boards of the lorry so that Tay could load the bundles of steel bars onto the back of the lorry.

Tay, whose back was facing Mr Amarasingam and the lorry, turned his forklift with the two bundles of rods towards the lorry. While turning, he suddenly saw Mr Amarasingam near the right side board of the lorry when he was expecting him to be near the left side.

Shocked, Tay immediately applied the forklift brakes, causing the first bundle of steel bars to roll off the fork and hit Mr Amarasingam's head. A second bundle rolled down and landed on the chest.

What Tay did was against safety practices that he was taught during training. He continued to take the risk of driving the forklift in this manner as he wanted to load the steel rods quickly onto the lorry.

He was supposed to keep the fork at as low as possible while driving the forklift to minimise the risk of the load or the forklift topping.

Tay, whose sentence was backdated to Aug 25, 2017, could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined for causing death by a rash act.

Correction note: In an earlier version of this story, we said that Tay Poh Seng was sentenced to 14 months' jail. This is incorrect. He was given two months' imprisonment. We are sorry for the error.

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