Man fined $2k for firing 6cm-long nail into colleague's chest in workplace incident

The man failed to observe proper safety procedures while handling a pneumatic nail gun, resulting in an incident where he fired a 6cm-long nail into his colleague's chest. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: UNSPLASH

SINGAPORE - While handling a pneumatic nail gun, a 23-year-old man failed to observe proper safety procedures by leaving his finger on the trigger.

This resulted in an incident where he fired a 6cm-long nail into his colleague's chest.

Yang Chengwei, a Chinese national, pleaded guilty to one count of causing hurt by a negligent act that endangered human life on Monday (Dec 16).

He was sentenced to a $2,000 fine or, if he was unable to pay, jail for a day.

Court documents stated that on Oct 24, 2019, Yang and Mr Miah Ripon, the victim, were assembling wooden boxes at 31 Tuas South Link 4, Level 4. Both men were working as packers for the same logistics company.

Mr Miah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi, was measuring wooden planks and using a hammer to straighten them. Yang was using a pneumatic nail gun to nail the planks together.

At about 6.15pm, Mr Miah approached Yang with the intention of asking him to secure certain wooden planks together with the nail gun.

While Yang was not doing any nailing work at that time, he left his right index finger on the trigger of the nail gun. According to court documents, this was in violation of proper safety procedures for handling the nail gun.

When Mr Miah was in front of Yang, he pushed the Chinese national's left shoulder, intending to notify him about nailing the planks. Caught by surprise, Yang accidentally raised the nail gun and fired a 6cm-long nail into his colleague's right chest.

Yang immediately put the nail gun down to attend to the victim.

Mr Miah was subsequently sent to the National University Hospital (NUH) for medical treatment, where he underwent an operation to remove the nail.

He was given a total of 24 days of hospitalisation leave, including two days in which he was warded in NUH, and a further 17 days of medical leave.

According to Lianhe Zaobao, Yang told the court that he was unable to pay the $2,000 fine proposed by Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yong, as he had been unemployed since Nov 22 this year.

Noting that Yang had also been in remand for 25 days, District Judge Christopher Tan ordered that the Chinese national could serve a day in jail in place of the fine.

For causing hurt by a negligent act that endangered human life, Yang could have been sentenced to a maximum of six months' imprisonment, or a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

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