Bangladeshi worker dies in accident at LTA construction site

The man and his co-workers were extracting sheet piles when a part of a sheet pile broke and fell on him.
The man and his co-workers were extracting sheet piles when a part of a sheet pile broke and fell on him.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
The accident took place in Koh Sek Lim Road, which runs into the Changi MRT depot, and comes after a spate of five workplace fatalities in the two weeks between late last month and early this month. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
He was pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

A 29-year-old Bangladeshi worker at a Land Transport Authority (LTA) construction site beside the Changi MRT depot died yesterday morning after a workplace accident.

This comes after a spate of five workplace fatalities in the two weeks between late last month and early this month, which prompted the labour movement to urge companies to prioritise and safeguard the safety of workers.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) told The Straits Times yesterday that the latest accident happened in Koh Sek Lim Road, which runs into the Changi MRT depot.

The police said they were alerted to the accident at 9.58am yesterday.

In a statement last night, LTA said: "During the extraction of sheet piles, the welding joint holding two sheet piles together broke, causing part of the sheet pile to fall on a worker. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene."

Sheet piles, usually made of steel, timber or concrete, are used in construction to help retain soil and provide excavation support. They can either be permanent or temporary structures.

"A safety timeout has been imposed on T315 (worksite) for the contractor to review work processes relating to sheet pile extraction... LTA has also reminded all project teams and contractors to observe worksite safety," said a spokesman, adding that LTA is assisting MOM and the police in their investigations.

LTA is saddened by the accident and will work with Lum Chang Building Contractors to help the victim's family, said the spokesman.

According to MOM, the victim was hired by BLT Geoworks.

Lum Chang was awarded the $325 million contract for the project in 2016. The scope of the project includes building a new platform at Tanah Merah station and extending the East-West Line train tracks to connect the new East Coast Integrated Depot in Changi.

National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general Melvin Yong said in a Facebook post earlier this month that the number of workplace fatalities this year was more than two-thirds of the total last year, when 39 lives were lost.

He expressed concern and alarm over the sharp increase in accidents recently, and said the figures serve as a critical reminder of the need to guard against fatigue or even complacency as Singapore continues to move towards phase three of its reopening.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2020, with the headline 'Bangladeshi worker dies in accident at LTA construction site'. Subscribe