Worker dies while unloading steel bars at Tengah EC construction site, man arrested

Kok Yufeng
The Straits Times
Dec 14, 2022

A 45-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by a negligent act after a worker died on Tuesday while unloading steel bars at an executive condominium (EC) construction site in Tengah.

This is the 44th work-related death in 2022, the highest number since 2016, when there were 66 such deaths. There were 37 workplace deaths in 2021, 30 in 2020, and 39 in 2019.

In response to queries, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said Tuesday’s fatal workplace accident took place in Tengah Garden Avenue at a construction site being developed by Taurus Properties SG.

The police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said they were alerted to the incident at about 4.35pm on Tuesday. MOM was alerted about 20 minutes later.

MOM said the worker, a 32-year-old Indian national, was unloading steel bars from a lorry crane with a colleague when the boom of the crane fell, hitting the worker and pinning him against the lorry.

The worker was pronounced dead at the scene by an SCDF paramedic.

A police spokesman said a 45-year-old man was later arrested. It is not clear what was his role in the accident. The authorities are investigating the accident.

In the meantime, MOM has ordered Woh Hup, the site occupier and the worker’s employer, to stop all lifting operations involving lorry cranes at the Tengah work site.

It said that as a general safety rule, personnel must not stand underneath the load during lifting operations.

When asked, a Taurus Properties SG spokesman said the company was unable to provide further details about the accident due to the ongoing investigations.

She added: “We are deeply saddened by the incident that took place at the Tengah Gardens site... We share our deepest condolences with the (worker’s) family for their loss and are working with Woh Hup to offer our assistance. Workplace safety is a key priority, and we will work closely with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation.”

Taurus Properties SG, a joint venture between City Developments Limited (CDL) and MCL Land, is building an EC named Copen Grand on the site, with an estimated temporary occupancy permit date of December 2027.

Earlier in 2022, MOM had put in place tougher sanctions to curb a recent rise in workplace deaths.

This included a six-month heightened safety period from Sept 1, 2022, to Feb 28, 2023, during which companies will be barred from hiring new foreign workers for up to three months if severe lapses are found following a serious or fatal workplace accident.

So far, at least two companies have been barred from hiring new workers under this heightened safety rule.

  • Additional reporting by Anjali Raguraman and Yong Li Xuan

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