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

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