Overview of the accident scene within the dry dock of Jurong Shipyard. The boom of the cherry picker buckled and collapsed on Oct 29, 2011, causing 2 workers to plunge 30m to their deaths (Source: Ministry of Manpower).

Jurong Shipyard fined $230,000 for fatal accident in 2011

Jurong Shipyard was fined S$230,000 for an accident involving workers, an Indian national and a Thai national, employees of Shipblast Marine, which had been engaged by Jurong Shipyard to carry out grit blasting work to smoothen the surface of a vessel in a dry dock at 29 Tanjong Kling Road.

On 29 October 2011, Ramudu Sivakumar, 25, and Phromprasoet Thanawan, 32, were in a cherry picker that had not been properly maintained. Unfortunately, the picker buckled and collapsed, causing the workers to fall and sustain fatal injuries.

The accident was not previously reported in the media.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) stated that all four boom sections and the basket of the cherry picker were corroded and it underwent an 18-month overhaul that was completed in July 2011. While, the second boom section’s boom plate had been worn down to less than half its original thickness of 6 mm.

According to the manufacturer’s guidelines, it should have been replaced.

However, Jurong Shipyard, which is owned by Sembcorp Marine, only blasted and painted over the affected areas.

MOM said that this was because it erroneously referred to a different set of rules.

After the overhaul, Jurong Shipyard failed to do comprehensive checks of the boom. As part of daily and weekly checks for corrosion and cracks, the boom should have been extended fully to 35 metres, however, the visual checks were conducted only up to 19.8 metres.

Jurong Shipyard was fined under the Workplace Safety and Health Act for failing to ensure the cherry picker was maintained in a safe condition.

This comes in less than two months after it was fined for safety lapses for a separate accident. Last November, the company was fined S$400,000 by the State Courts for multiple safety lapses that led to the sudden tilting of an oil rig under construction in December 2012, with nearly 1,000 workers on board.

It is said that it was one of the worst industrial accidents in recent times and 89 people were sent to the hospital for treatment and the fine equaled the record imposed on SMRT Trains for safety lapses that led to the deaths of two trainees near Pasir Ris MRT station in March 2016.