PIE uncompleted highway structure collapse: OKP calls for trading halt, firm previously blacklisted for lapses

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The Land Transport Authority said that work has resumed at all its road and rail construction sites after safety checks. The checks came after a new viaduct being built collapsed on Friday morning, killing one worker and injuring 10.
The collapsed section of a highway under construction as seen along the slip road from PIE to TPE. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - The construction firm building the structure that collapsed on Friday morning (July 14) has asked for a halt in the trading of its shares.

The call from OKP, the holding company for Or Kim Peow Contractors, came at around 10.15am, with its shares down 8 per cent to 39.5 cents.

Shares of the mainboard-listed OKP Holdings slid when trading opened on Friday. At 9.20am, they were down 7 per cent to 40 cents.

One worker has died and 10 others have been injured in the work site collapse.

The structure that collapsed on Friday is believed to be at an early stage of construction, with the metal reinforcement bars still being placed. No concrete tear marks could be seen at the adjacent structures, which are still standing.

According to the Land Transport Authority, preliminary investigations indicate that the corbels supporting the pre-cast beams had given way. A corbel is a structural piece of stone or metal jutting from a wall to carry a weight.

The firm had been found guilty just three days earlier in connection with another accident at a construction site.

In that case, too, one worker had died, while three others were injured.

Before that, the firm Or Kim Peow (OKP) had received 25 demerit points from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). It had been blacklisted from January to April.

In the incident which happened in 2015, OKP was found guilty of breaches of the Workplace Safety and Health Act. The firm and its safety coordinator and site supervisor Victor Tan Kok Peng were fined $250,000 and $12,000 respectively for a workplace accident on Sept 22, 2015. Four workers fell 6.4m to the ground when the section of the working platform they were standing on under Yio Chu Kang Flyover dislodged. One worker died and the other three suffered injuries.

The firm failed to ensure the working platform erected by the company was safe for use. Tan assigned workers not adequately trained and briefed on the professional engineer's (PE) design to erect the working platform.

According to the Manpower Ministry, the firm was engaged to expand the CTE/TPE/SLE interchange, which included structural, piping and finishing works for the flyover.

Investigations revealed that the firm failed to ensure that all people involved in the erection of the working platform were trained scaffold erectors; the working platform was erected without the immediate supervision of a scaffold supervisor; and the firm failed to erect the working platform according to the PE design.

There was also no warning sign or label displayed stating the maximum permissible load of the working platform at its access point.

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