Technician dies after being trapped in lift shaft during repair works in North Bridge Rd

The lift technician was pronounced dead at the scene at about 5.30pm.
The lift technician was pronounced dead at the scene at about 5.30pm.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
The building at 450 North Bridge Road, where the worker was trapped in the lift shaft.
The building at 450 North Bridge Road, where the worker was trapped in the lift shaft.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A 29-year-old lift technician died on Saturday (Feb 27) after he got trapped in a lift shaft at a building in North Bridge Road while carrying out repair works.

The fatal accident occurred at 450 North Bridge Road.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the police told The Straits Times they were alerted at about 11.30am.

The Bangladeshi worker was found trapped in a narrow gap between a lift carriage that was between the second and third storeys of the building and the metal support structure of the lift.

Extricating the technician took about six hours, in what SCDF said was a highly complex and delicate operation.

It required officers from SCDF's elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team and other fire station personnel to operate a slew of rescue equipment within the confined space of the lift shaft.

Besides SCDF's emergency medical crew, an emergency medical team from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) was also on-site to provide medical assistance.

The lift technician was pronounced dead at the scene at about 5.30pm by the TTSH team.

The police are investigating the unnatural death.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the technician was conducting repair work on top of the lift car when it ascended and trapped him against the lift's guide rail structure.

The occupier of the site is Parkland Property Services and the man's employer is Decor Engineering. MOM is investigating the incident and has ordered all lift maintenance works at the site to stop.

 Police officers at the scene yesterday. PH
Extricating the technician took about six hours, in what SCDF said was a highly complex and delicate operation. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

A spokesman for Chan Brothers, which owns the building, said it was only made aware of the incident at about 1pm, when the rescue operation was in progress.

The travel agency's directors reached the scene shortly after.

The spokesman said the firm is still waiting for an official update from the relevant authorities, and investigation reports from Parkland Property Services, the building's managing agent, and lift contractor Thyssenkrupp Elevator Singapore.

"Chan Brothers Group of Companies would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased for the loss of a loved one," he added.

This is the 11th work-related fatality this month, making February the deadliest month with regards to workplace accidents since at least 2018.

In the whole of last year, there were 30 workplace deaths.

This latest fatality comes after a blast at an industrial building in Tuas on Wednesday killed three men and left five others in critical condition, sparking alarm among labour MPs and MOM officials.

It also prompted Manpower Minister Josephine Teo to convene an inquiry committee to look into the fatal fire.

The last time an inquiry was convened for a workplace accident was in 2004 to investigate the Nicoll Highway collapse that killed four people.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general Melvin Yong said he was deeply saddened to hear about yet another workplace fatality.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family," Mr Yong, who is also the MP for Radin Mas, wrote.

"Clearly we need to take decisive actions to improve workplace safety and we need to implement them sooner, not later, so that we can prevent more workplace fatalities from happening."

 Police officers at the scene yesterday. PH
The police are investigating the unnatural death. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO


11 work-related deaths in Feb

FEB 1

Who: Indian national, 31, employed by Li Fu Zhan Engineering

Where: Jurong West Street 52 construction site

What happened: Found unconscious and slouched against the control panel of a boom lift; died in hospital from unspecified injuries.

FEB 2

Who: Singaporean prime mover driver, 67, employed by Yong Tat Logistics

Where: 37 Jurong Port Road

What happened: Fell 2m to the ground after he stood on steel bars on his trailer bed to help a forklift operator adjust a steel bundle.

FEB 8

Who: Singaporean delivery rider, 30, employed by Declarators

Where: Ayer Rajah Expressway

What happened: Collided with the rear of a truck and was pronounced dead at the scene.

FEB 10

Who: Mr Koh Kok Heng, 53, a permanent resident and director at JMS Construction

Where: 38 University Walk

What happened: Fell 4.7m through opening in the floor while overseeing construction work at the semi-detached house.

FEB 16

Who: Singaporean man, 52, self-employed

Where: East Special Purposes Anchorage

What happened: Fell into the sea while climbing down a pilot ladder of a vessel to board a passenger launch. He was rescued but died after he was taken to the hospital.

FEB 20

Who: Bangladeshi forklift operator, 23, employed by Lum Chang Building Contractors

Where: 1A Havelock Square (Former State Courts building)

What happened: Crushed by forklift he was operating after it had reversed into a pit and toppled.

FEB 21

Who: Indian national, 27, employed by Sharp Engineering and Construction

Where: 14 Penjuru Road

What happened: Trapped between two shipping containers after one of them had shifted while the man was walking along a path between the containers.