Worker dies after 9 glass doors topple on him in warehouse: 4th workplace fatality this year

Aqil Hamzah
The Straits Times
Feb 8, 2023

A 53-year-old Singaporean man who was unloading a shipment of glass doors with two other workers at a warehouse in Alexandra died from his injuries after nine glass doors toppled on the three of them.

The man, who worked for AGL Facade Systems, was taken to the National University Hospital, where he later died.

Another worker who was injured is in stable condition at the hospital. The third worker in the team escaped unhurt.

The latest incident, which occurred last Thursday, makes it the fourth workplace fatality so far in 2023.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it is investigating the incident.

It has instructed AGL Facade to stop all work activities and appoint a workplace safety and health auditor to review the company’s work practices.

The company has also been barred from hiring new migrant workers for three months, and its director is required to personally account to MOM for safety lapses and take direct responsibility for rectifications, the statement added.

MOM said the incident took place at about 2.15pm last Thursday at Harbour Link Complex in Alexandra Terrace, when the men were unloading the glass doors from a shipping container.

The ministry said glass sheets and panels in shipping containers have to be bundled in upright positions within wooden crates when they are being transported, and forklifts or purpose-built telescopic handlers should be used for safe unloading.

If the items need to be shifted manually, proper means of support – such as props, braces, frames or restraint belts – have to be provided to prevent other items within the container from toppling, the statement added.

There was another workplace death last week.

A 44-year-old Malaysian man who was driving a prime mover died after his vehicle went off the pier into the sea at Keppel Terminal on the morning of Jan 31.

Earlier in January, a 66-year-old Singaporean pump attendant was knocked down by a car at a petrol station at 61, Sengkang East Road. He fell and hit his head, and died four days later on Jan 23 in Sengkang General Hospital.

The first workplace death this year occurred on Jan 12, when a 37-year-old worker from Myanmar fell four storeys off a concrete ledge while painting the facade of a condominium block in Bedok. He was on a gondola with another worker and both men had climbed out of the gondola to paint parts of the wall that were out of reach.

In 2022, there were 46 workplace fatalities - the highest number recorded since the 2016 tally of 66.

As part of efforts to tackle the problem, MOM imposed a six-month heightened safety period from Sept 1, 2022 until Feb 28 this year.

During this period, firms would be barred from hiring new foreign workers for up to three months if severe lapses are found after a serious or fatal workplace accident.

The average number of workplace fatalities nationwide each month then fell from 4.5 between January and August 2022 to 2.5 from September to December 2022.

The Straits Times

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