Worker injured after falling two storeys at Chinatown Point

A worker fell from the fourth storey of Chinatown Point and landed on the second storey on Jan 9, 2022. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM KURT TAY/YOUTUBE

SINGAPORE - A 28-year-old Bangladeshi worker was taken to hospital on Sunday afternoon (Jan 9) after he fell from the fourth storey of Chinatown Point and landed on the second storey.

He was conscious when taken to the hospital. No one else was hurt in the incident.

A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) spokesman told The Straits Times on Monday that the worker, employed by Vectron Construction, was carrying out waterproofing works on the ceiling plenum on the fourth storey of the mall when he fell through the ceiling board and landed on the second storey. 

The worker is still hospitalised for treatment, said the ministry on Monday morning.

The spokesman said investigations are being conducted and Vectron has been instructed to stop all works on the ceiling plenum.

A ceiling plenum is a space provided for air circulation for ventilation and air-conditioning. It is commonly found in the space between the structural ceiling and a drop-down ceiling or under a raised floor.

A 13-minute video uploaded on YouTube on Sunday showed a man lying on the second storey of the mall. In the video, onlookers can be heard saying in Mandarin that a thin wooden board gave way and the worker fell through it.

A spokesman for Perennial (Singapore) Retail Management, which manages Chinatown Point, said that a security officer on duty rendered immediate assistance to the injured worker while the property’s management team called for an ambulance.

The worker had been appointed by the property’s Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) to perform scheduled works. 

The Perennial spokesman said the area on the fourth storey has been closed off, adding: “We are working closely with the property’s MCST and relevant authorities to investigate the incident.”

A spokesman for the Workplace Safety and Health Council said on Monday that employers may prevent accidents from happening by conducting  thorough risk assessment for all work activities, followed by selecting and implementing effective risk control measures, and communicating these measures to all stakeholders involved in the work activities.

“Employees must abide by all the established risk control measures and highlight any other risk concerns that may not have been adequately addressed,” said the spokesman.

According to MOM’s Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Report, there were 35 major injuries and four deaths caused by falls from height in the first half of 2021, 19 major injuries and four deaths in the first half of 2020, and 32 major injuries and four deaths in the second half of 2020.

The statistics for the second half of last year are currently unavailable.

Mr Arjun Nair, a workplace safety and health officer with experience in process construction, said that industrial accidents usually happen when an employee does not adhere to safe work procedures and when an employer fails to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment prior to the task.

Mr Nair added that the MOM should also step up enforcement efforts against employers who are not compliant with the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

Mr Han Wenqi, a registered workplace safety and health officer, said: “Fall from heights industrial accidents can be prevented by a combination of proactive measures, which include providing a safe means for people to get to and move around the work area.”

He added that fragile surfaces should be identified and clearly communicated to any person accessing the work area, and that risk of falls due to tripping and slipping can be reduced by proper planning for material storage and good housekeeping. 

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