Construction firm fined S$270,000 after death of worker

Construction firm fined S$270,000 after death of worker

A construction worker working for TGG died after this adjustable base plate fell and struck his head from above. (Photo: MOM)

SINGAPORE: Construction firm TGG was fined S$270,000 after one of its workers was killed in a construction site accident in Clementi, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a news release on Friday (May 19).

TGG was the main subcontractor for reinforced concrete structural works as well as mechanical and electrical works for two blocks of a 38-storey residential building and a multi-storey carpark at Clementi Avenue 6 and Commonwealth Avenue West.

On Oct 8, 2015, the company's workers were dismantling formwork structures - moulds for concrete to be poured into - on the 38th storey of the building, when one of the workers tried to lift a formwork frame by himself and fell, dropping the frame and the wooden timbers on top of it.

The timbers struck an adjustable base plate, which fell into the lift shaft, hitting the head of a worker who was in the lift shaft on the 31st storey. He had been there dismantling a platform with a colleague.

The worker was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. 

In its news release, MOM said that TGG assigned untrained workers to dismantle the formwork, and they were left to do this unsupervised and without any safety instructions even though this was their first time doing such work. 

The workers carried out the work based on how they had seen other workers from other companies do it before, MOM said.

The company was found to have committed other lapses, which include not following the required safety measures, not properly coordinating works and ensuring that safety netting was installed.

Because no barricades had been installed, the workers were at risk of falling from height as well, MOM said.

TGG was charged for failing in its duty as an employer to take, so far as was reasonably practicable, measures that were necessary to ensure the safety and health of its employees at work - an offence punishable by a fine of up to S$500,000 under the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA). 

MANAGING DIRECTOR FINED

TGG's managing director Kwek Teng Kian, who was responsible for overall site safety, was also fined S$40,000 for failing to exercise due diligence to prevent his company's breach of the WSHA. 

Kwek was the person who gave instructions for the formwork dismantling on the 38th storey. 

He was aware that the supervisor assigned to the formwork dismantling had not been trained as a formwork supervisor, but asked the latter to proceed nonetheless without ensuring there were proper safety procedures in place.

He also instructed the workers to carry out the formwork dismantling without ensuring that they were trained to do so, MOM said.

Furthermore, Kwek did not inform the occupier of the worksite that he had decided to carry out dismantling works. If they had been informed, the occupier could have made sure there were barricades and toe guards in place and look out for incompatible works, MOM said.

In addition, MOM said Kwek did not properly coordinate the works so that the formwork dismantling and catch platform dismantling were not carried out concurrently, even though he was aware of the risk of objects falling into the lift shaft.

For failure to exercise due diligence, Kwek could have been punished with a fine of up to S$200,000, up to two years in jail, or both. 

Source: CNA/mz

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