Supervisor jailed for 4 months after failing to conduct test, leading to worker's death

SINGAPORE - A supervisor, whose failure to conduct a key test at a worksite led to the death of a worker, was sentenced to four months' jail on Thursday (Aug 19).

The worker suffered injuries on his head and waist in the accident on Jan 1, 2016. He was taken to hospital where he died.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said senior field supervisor Muhammed Noredzuan Othman, 42, was charged with committing a negligent act.

His employer, mechanical engineering group Enermech, had to carry out nitrogen-helium leak tests on board a ship. He needed to first do a line walk to "verify the test boundaries and valve positions" of a piping system.

This was meant to be done in accordance with a checklist and a piping and instrumentation diagram.

MOM said Noredzuan did not conduct the line walk on Dec 31, 2015. He endorsed the checklist and proceeded with the next test.

"As a result, one of the valves was not corrected to the 'open' position, and pressurised gas from the first test was trapped inside the pipeline," MOM added.

Pipe fitter and welder Chin Chee Cheng was tasked with repairing a leaking pipe joint along the pipeline of a high pressure gas compressor on the ship on Jan 1, 2016.

While he was removing a clamp connector from the joint, the connector dislodged and struck him. Investigations found that this was caused by the sudden discharge of trapped residual pressurised gas in the compressor.

MOM said Noredzuan's negligence endangered the safety of his co-workers and led to the death of Mr Chin.

It added that the company that engaged Mr Chin for the repair works, Generco Engineering, was also previously charged under the Workplace Safety and Health Act and fined $180,000.

Mr Sebastian Tan, director of occupational safety and health inspectorate at MOM, said the accident could have been avoided if safe work procedures, such as the line walk, had been done properly.

"MOM will continue to seek penalties against those who fail to implement proper safety measures. We urge employers and employees to learn from this case," he added.

"We must continue to stay vigilant and implement proper safety measures to protect our workers from harm."

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