Bangladeshi worker dies after being caught between barricades and rotating crane at Sengkang worksite

The worker was caught between metal barricades and the counterweight of a crawler crane when the crane rotated, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A 37-year-old Bangladeshi worker died in an accident at a construction site in Sengkang on Friday morning (Nov 22), the second reported fatal accident at the site this year.

He was caught between metal barricades and the counterweight of a crawler crane when the crane rotated, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The site developer is the Housing Board, while the contractor is Ken-Pal. The worker was employed by construction firm He Zhan.

He was taken unconscious to Sengkang General Hospital, where he later died, said the police. They were alerted to the industrial accident at 339 Anchorvale Road at about 9am.

MOM said that it has instructed Ken-Pal to stop all lifting operations in the worksite. The ministry and the police are investigating the incident.

When contacted, Ken-Pal declined to comment as the matter is still under investigation.

This is the second reported industrial accident at the Sengkang construction site this year. In March, a 36-year-old man, an Indian national, was killed after he was struck by a sheet pile at the worksite.

MOM said the occupier of the worksite then was Ken-Pal, while the worker was employed by Harris Construction.

The Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC), in a Facebook post on Saturday (Nov 23), identified the worker as Mr Islam Md Soreful, who had a wife and two sons, aged 10 and 18.

The centre confirmed that an accident report was filed with the authorities along with a Work Injury Compensation claim on Mr Islam's behalf.

MWC's officers have contacted Mr Islam's wife and are determining how to assist the family. The centre is also accepting donations to send to them.

It understands that Mr Islam's employer and co-workers raised and sent a bereavement token to his wife and family.

"MWC will continue to monitor the developments in this case, as well as the help the family receives," it said.

The centre's officers have offered the construction company assistance to facilitate the repatriation process but were told that the company does not currently require such help.

Noting the recent spate of worksite deaths involving migrant workers, MWC strongly urged employers and all workers to pay strict attention to workplace safety.

It added that no amount of financial assistance or other forms of help "can ever replace the tragic loss of a person's life and we hope that all stakeholders can come together to stop this distressing trend over the last month".

Earlier this month, a construction crane collapsed at the worksite of an upcoming rehabilitation hub in Novena, killing an Indian construction worker, 28, and injuring a Bangladeshi worker, 35.

The accident on Friday comes even as the number of workplace deaths fell to a seven-year low, according to half-year workplace safety statistics released by MOM and the Workplace Safety and Health Council in September.

Seventeen workers died on the job from January to June, down from 18 in the same period last year and 23 in the second half.

This was the lowest absolute number of workplace fatalities since 2012, when fatality data for all workplaces was tracked, MOM and the Workplace Safety and Health Council said when they released the figures.

Six of the 17 deaths took place at construction sites.

Even though the figures are improving, Mr Ethan Guo, general manager of migrant worker advocacy group Transient Workers Count Too, told The Straits Times that "even one accident is one too many".

"Companies have to recognise that safety is important and place it as a priority at every stage," he said.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.