Boss of transport supply company fined S$70,000 for death of employee

The sole proprietor of Yen Logistics Services, Mr Steven Yen Tuck Hei was fined S$ 70,000 for failing to conduct risk assessment for work of loading and unloading of cargoes from trailers. Neither did he provide any documents on briefing drivers and safe work practices.

The accident happened on 1st August 2007 about noon time where Singaporean Koh Hong Son was transporting steel pipes to Pasir Panjang Wharves. Koh release the securing straps so that the pipes could be unloaded, Instead, the pipes rolled off the trailers, pinning him underneath. He was sent to hospital but subsequently died from multiple injuries.

Ministry of Manpower’s investigations revealed that the steel pipes were stacked too high on the trailerbed, which might be the likely risk that the pipes rolling off during transportation and unloading.

1. Jurong Port Safety Bulletin No. 09-11 – Dec 2009
2. Channel News Asia, 21st Dec 2009

Lifting Supervisor jailed 4 weeks for fatal accident

A site supervisor was in charge of 20 workers involved in demolition and structural works. At the time of accident, he instructed 2 workers, one of which was the deceased to help out of lifting a timber formwork using a mobile crane. During the lifting process, the wire rope used gave way. The formwork fell about 9 metres and hit one of the workers.

Investigations found that the trained lifting supervisor had failed to ensure the workers are trained riggers and improper briefing was given to perform the lifting activity. He also endanger the life of the workers’ safety by exposing them to falling object hazard during the lifting operation.

On 14th January 2010, the site supervisor was jailed 4 weeks for his reckless act which resulted the death of one worker in a lifting accident on 12th October 2007.

1. Jurong Port Safety Bulletin No. 09-13

Company and its director fined S$70,000 after worker die from flash fire.

The deceased worker started working with the company about two weeks before the accident. He was performing gas cutting works using an Oxy-Acetylene gas cutting torch in the factory and within the same area, drums were being pressed for disposal. During the cutting works, a flash fire broke out and the worker suffered extensive burns, and died 10 days later in the hospital.

Ministry of Manpower’s investigations found leaks at the valves of oxygen and acetylene cylinders of the torch as well as connection between the hose and gas torch. The company failed their duty to conduct safety checks and maintain the hotworks equipment  before allowing the workers to use them.

The company and its director was later convicted under the Workplace SAfety and Health Act (Cap. 354A) and a fine of total S$70,000 was imposed.

1. Jurong Port Safety Bulletin No. 09-17

1st employer to fine S$20,000 for Death of Worker from Heat Stroke

A sole properietor of a company was fined S$20,000 for failing to implement adequate measure to protect one of his workers over heat stress, leading to death of a China worker.

The deceased China worker was from north-east China where average annual temperature was between 6-11 degrees Celsius. On 25th April 2009, he was doing fabrication work under the sun for 5 hours in the yard whereby the average temperature is about 32.9 degrees Celsius. He collapsed and died of heatstroke 4 days after the incident.

Ministry of Manpower findings shows that the deceased China worker was only on his 2nd day of his new job and most likely not adjusted to the Singapore’s climate. Investigations also shown that the company did not use any preventive measures to ensure workplace safety and health which contributed to the death of the worker.

1. Jurong Port Safety Bulletin No.10-10 – Dec 2010

Director paid highest fine meted for causing workplace fatality.

Singapore’s Workplace Safety and Health Act has fined a company and its Director S$ 200,000 and S$100,000 respectively for failing to implement safety and health meausure that contributed to a workplace fatality. To-date, both fines are the highest ever recorded for single charge under WSHA.

The company was supplying and installing aluminium doors, windows and glazings at a worksite. On the day of the accident, one supervisor and two workers were tasked to unload 8 crates of glass panels from a container.

The unloading was involved using a forklift to pull, with the help webbing sling and when each crate slightly being pulled out of the container, a overhead crane to hoist the crate away. During the process, 2 workers would stand inside the container and use wooden planks to support the crate as it was being pulled out.

Though the workers managed to unload five crates of the eight crates from container. Unfortunately, one of the wooden planks held by one of the workers broke and as the crate toppled, one of the workers was pinned under the crate of glass panels and was crushed to death.

Findings from Ministry of Manpower showed that the unloading method was unsafe and the company and its director did not take any initiative to establish safe work procedures though they were aware that the unloading process was unsafe.

Singapore has been implementing strict control over Workplace Safety & Health as the government saw an increase in workplace accidents and increasing numbers of fatalities.

1. Jurong Port Safety Bulletin No. 10-09 – Oct 2010