Manpower Ministry issues stop-work orders at two factory work sites after fatal accidents

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has suspended work at two factory work sites following the recent deaths of two workers due to safety lapses.

Stop-work orders were issued immediately after the MOM's preliminary inspections into the two incidents, the ministry said in a press release on Monday (Nov 9).

The first incident occurred when a worker got pinned under steel plates that were dislodged during a lifting operation at a metalworking factory occupied by Zoom Engineering Pte Ltd on Oct 30.

A MOM inspection subsequently revealed several safety lapses in the factory, and the company has been tasked to review its work processes, conduct a thorough risk assessment for lifting activities, and ensure the safe use of machinery before any work operation can resume.

The second accident took place at a site along Punggol Way and Punggol Road occupied by China Railway No. 8-WSHC JV Pte Ltd last Thursday.

A worker died when he fell out of the bucket of an excavator that was being used to lift him and another worker out of a 5m-long shaft.

MOM found out that the work site had carried out unsafe excavation works without proper shoring or access. Falling hazards were also observed at the open sides of many areas that were left unguarded, with no access control to the site.

Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan called the safety lapses that led to the accidents "totally unacceptable".

Mr Tan said: "They could have been avoided with effective control and management of the worksite. It is deplorable for companies to subject their workers to such foreseeable risks.

"We will take stern action against these errant companies who had failed to ensure a safe workplace for their workers."

Should the final investigations determine that the companies had contravened the Workplace Safety and Health Act, they could be fined up to $500,000 for a first offence.