Painter dies after falling 4 storeys at Bedok condo in first workplace death of 2023

The worker was standing on a concrete ledge at Waterfront Isle condominium when he fell. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLEMAPS

SINGAPORE – A worker from Myanmar died on Thursday after falling four storeys from a concrete ledge while he was painting the facade of a condominium block in Bedok.

This is the first workplace death in 2023.

In response to queries, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the incident took place at about 3.50pm at 738 Bedok Reservoir Road, the address of Waterfront Isle condominium.

The 37-year-old was paired with another worker and they were using a gondola, MOM added.

However, both workers climbed out of the gondola to paint parts of the wall that were out of reach.

The victim, who was employed by ISOTeam C&P, was standing on a concrete ledge when he fell.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force and police were alerted at about 4.20pm, and he was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic. The police and MOM are investigating the accident. No foul play is suspected.

MOM has told ISOTeam C&P to stop using the gondola and to halt all work-at-height activities at the condominium. The company, a subsidiary of building maintenance firm ISOTeam, will be barred from hiring new foreign workers for three months due to its poor risk controls, MOM said.

ISOTeam C&P’s managing director, Mr Sam Chen, will also be required to personally account to MOM for the lapses, and take responsibility for rectifications.

“MOM will not hesitate to prosecute those responsible if wrongdoing is found,” a spokesman said on Saturday.

According to his profile on ISOTeam’s website, Mr Chen is a certified safety supervisor and a work-at-height assessor.

Under the law, no person should enter or leave a gondola unless it is at rest on the ground, or at any level which allows safe access.

Workers should also be given appropriate safety equipment to prevent falls when working at height, MOM added.

Falling from a height was among the top causes of workplace deaths in 2022. The year saw 46 workplace fatalities, the highest recorded since 2016 when 66 people died.

On Sept 1, 2022, MOM imposed a six-month heightened safety period that will run till Feb 28. During this period, firms will be barred from hiring new foreign workers for up to three months if severe lapses are found following a serious or fatal workplace accident.

Following this measure, the average number of workplace fatalities nationwide per month fell from 4.5 between January and August 2022 to 2.5 from September to December 2022.

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