Subcontractor fined $230k over Sentosa worksite accident which killed one and injured 10 others

Emergency personnel attending to some of the workers injured in an accident at a worksite in Sentosa on Jan 29, 2014.
Emergency personnel attending to some of the workers injured in an accident at a worksite in Sentosa on Jan 29, 2014. PHOTO: POSMAN SIANTURI

SINGAPORE - A building subcontractor was given a $230,000 fine on Tuesday (April 18) for failing to take adequate safety measures to ensure that the formwork structures erected for the concreting of a beam carried out by its employees were safe.

As a result, one worker and 10 others were injured in the accident near Palawan Beach in Sentosa, which took place on Jan 29, 2014 .

A representative of Genocean Construction, the employer, had pleaded guilty to breaching the Workplace Safety and Health Act last month.

The company was engaged to carry out structural works for the building of a three-storey family entertainment centre at the worksite at Beach View, Sentosa.

Chinese national Zhou Tonglin, 35, and his 10 colleagues were standing on top of a formwork structure and concrete was being poured into a beam when part of the structure collapsed.

All 11 people fell about 10m into wet concrete, and were extricated by other workers before being conveyed to hospital for medical treatment.

Mr Zhou suffocated to death at around 3.10pm that day. The other 10 had injuries from minor cuts and abrasions to limb fractures.

Investigation by the Manpower Ministry showed that the formwork shoring system in question had not been made in line with specifications and a professional engineer's design.

A detailed analysis also uncovered pre-existing cracks in some parts of the structure, among other things. It grew increasingly unstable as concrete was poured in, and collapsed.

MOM prosecutor Ameerhan Shikandar said that the accused company did not ensure that a risk assessment was conducted and safe work procedures had been developed for the shifting of the formwork shoring system.

It should have ensured that the formwork structure components were free from defects and the checks could only be done by dismantling the formwork shoring system.

No inspection was conducted by the formwork supervisor to ensure that the structure erected was safe before allowing the concreting works to commence.

Mr Ameerhan had sought a fine of at least $250,000 to be imposed. Aggravating factors cited included serious actual harm which resulted in one death and 10 injured workers.

The company, represented by Mr Desmond Tan, was allowed to pay $100,000 by April 25 and the balance in two equal instalments of $65,000 each.

The maximum punishment for the offence is a $500,000 fine.