Forklift driver dies after vehicle toppled at Tampines North BTO worksite

A photo of the construction site of Tampines GreenGlen and GreenCrest BTO projects, taken on Jan 28, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The driver of a forklift at the site of a Build-To-Order (BTO) project in Tampines North died on Wednesday (Feb 23) after he was thrown out of the vehicle, which had toppled to its side.

The Chinese national, 49, was reversing the forklift when the incident took place, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in response to queries from The Straits Times.

The police said they were alerted at 5pm on Wednesday to the fatal industrial accident, which ST understands took place at the site of the upcoming Tampines GreenCrest BTO project in Tampines Street 64.

The worker was unconscious when taken to Changi General Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

He was employed by China Construction (South Pacific) Development, which is also the occupier of the construction site.

The MOM and the police are investigating the incident, and the ministry has told the firm to stop all forklift operations at the site.

Launched in August 2020, the 346-unit Tampines GreenCrest development is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of next year.

In a statement to ST, the Housing Board said it is working with the building contractor to assist the authorities with their investigations.

“We also extend our heartfelt condolences to the deceased’s family and together with the contractor, we will render support and assistance to them,” HDB added.

MOM said that as a general safety rule, forklift operators need to be belted up while the forklift is in motion. It did not say whether the worker killed in Wednesday's accident had his seat belt on.

According to the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council's guidelines for the safe operation of forklifts, forklift drivers should also wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as a safety helmet, safety shoes and a reflective vest, when operating the vehicle. Forklift operators should also always look over their shoulders to check for blind spots when reversing.

Wednesday's fatal accident is the third workplace death to have occurred this year.

There were at least 37 workplace deaths in 2021, compared with 30 deaths in 2020 and 39 deaths in 2019.

On Feb 11, a worker died after he was struck on the head by the moving parts of an automated machine and his body then fell into the machine.

The worker had reached into the machine through an open inspection window while the machine was still in operation, the WSH Council said in an alert on Monday.

A safeguard to stop operations while the inspection window was open did not function at the time, the council said.

The worker was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigations into this incident are ongoing.

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