Worker dies in accident at Changi East worksite

Machine topples, pinning him; this brings number of workplace deaths this year to 34

A migrant worker died last Thursday after an accident at a worksite for the upcoming Changi East project, which includes the construction of Changi Airport Terminal 5 (T5) and a third runway for the airport.

The fatal accident took place in Tanah Merah Coast Road, and the police were alerted at 8.05pm.

With last week's accident, there have been at least 34 workplace deaths this year, compared with 30 deaths last year and 39 deaths in 2019.

The worker, an Indian national, was operating a vibratory roller, which is used to compact soil, when the machine toppled and trapped him in the cabin.

The 43-year-old was employed by INA Heavy Machinery and Equipment, which uses vibratory rollers that weigh about 10 tonnes, according to the company's website.

The pinned worker was pulled out from under the machine by his colleagues, The Straits Times understands.

He was unconscious when taken to Changi General Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the police are investigating the incident.

No foul play is suspected.

MOM has told the occupier of the worksite, Japanese company Penta-Ocean Construction, to stop all earth compacting works at the location.

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) told ST that land preparation and ground improvement works were being carried out at the worksite.

The ministry and the contractor are providing assistance and support to the dead worker's family.

In 2014, Penta-Ocean and Singapore's Koon Construction and Transport were awarded a $1.1 billion contract by MOT to prepare the land in Changi East, which is reclaimed and made of soft marine clay.

The soil needed to be strengthened before T5 and the third runway could be built.

In December 2019, Koon Construction and Transport terminated its joint venture with Penta-Ocean, with the latter taking over the project.

By then, it was reported that more than 90 per cent of the land preparation works had been completed.

According to statistics released by the Workplace Safety and Health Council on Monday, the number of workplace deaths has fallen over the past three quarters.

There were six workplace deaths in the third quarter of this year, including two from the Tuas Incineration Plant blast in September, compared with 12 in the first quarter and 11 in the second quarter.

The number of workplace injuries was comparable across the three quarters, with 158 major injuries and 3,061 minor injuries recorded between July and September.

In August and September, MOM issued 132 fines, seven stop-work orders and 1,312 notices of non-compliance after mounting a special operation targeting 500 workplaces in the manufacturing, service and construction sectors.

The most common breaches were open sides without fall protection, unguarded machinery, poor housekeeping, a lack of safety measures for workers on slippery or uneven surfaces, and a lack of safe entry and exit at workplaces.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2021, with the headline 'Worker dies in accident at Changi East worksite'. Subscribe