Man's death at 1-Altitude rooftop bar pit: 3 firms and 3 men charged over alleged lapses

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
March 3, 2022

Three firms and three men were charged in a district court on Thursday (March 3) over alleged safety lapses that led to the death of a part-time security officer after he fell into a 4m-deep pit at 1-Altitude rooftop bar in 2019.

Two of them are property developer OUB Centre and Rodney Yeo Kuang Hsing, 50, who was one of its directors at the time of the tragedy.

Also charged were restaurant and bar operator Synergyinthesky and Ong Han Peng, 49, identified as its chief executive and managing director at the time.

The last two alleged offenders are housekeeping, conservancy and cleaning contractor A&P Maintenance Services and Teo Eng Hua, 61, who was then its senior operations manager.

All six parties were handed charges under the Workplace Safety and Health Act following the death of Mr Shaun Tung Mun Hon, 26, who died of a head injury after he fell into the pit at 1-Altitude, which is located at One Raffles Place, on June 9, 2019.

During an earlier coroner's inquiry, the court heard that the opening Mr Tung fell through had been uncovered by workers tasked with cleaning the building's facade.

Inside the opening was a switch to operate a gondola used to clean the facade of One Raffles Place, a 63-storey building.

Mr Tung was shown the pit and briefed about it before he started his shift at the alfresco bar on the day of his death.

Barricades and warning signs had been erected on the second floor of the nightspot, where the pit opening was located, to prevent guests from entering the area.

But then State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam noted that the barricades could be pushed aside and the area around the pit was not illuminated.

Mr Tung later spotted two men, who were not identified, entering the cordoned-off area at around 1.30am.

He ran towards the pair while shining his torch to warn them, but failed to spot the pit himself and fell in it.

Paramedics arrived at the scene and Mr Tung was later pronounced dead.

Then State Coroner Kamala said in August 2020 that the accident could have been avoided if safety standards had been observed.

On Thursday, Synergyinthesky and Ong were each accused of failing to adequately consider the hazards created by the floor opening and implement the relevant risk control measures.

They are also said to have failed to establish and implement safe work procedures for their employees performing security work to control the risks posed by the floor opening.

Their cases have been adjourned to March 15.

Meanwhile, Yeo and OUB Centre are accused of failing to ensure that the opening was covered or guarded by effective barriers to prevent a fall.

Teo is accused of failing to take adequate steps to address the risks posed by the floor opening that led to Mr Tung's death.

According to court documents, A&P Maintenance Services allegedly failed to "conduct an adequate assessment of the risks concerning the floor opening at the gondola pit at the rooftop."

The cases involving these four alleged offenders have been adjourned to next month.

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