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Lentor MRT station worksite (Source: LTA Facebook page).

Fatal work accident at worksite for Thomson–East Coast Line

A worker fell from a raised working platform in a tunnel that connects to Lentor station, which is currently under construction for the Thomson–East Coast Line, on Thursday (1 March) at 3.35 am.

In a statement, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) stated that it is deeply saddened by a fatal accident.

The worker fell from a raised working platform in the tunnel and was unconscious after the fall. He was subsequently pronounced dead by paramedics at 4.30am.

According to the authority, the worker was employed to dismantle components of Tunnel Boring Machines, following the completion of tunnelling works.

LTA said that it is working with the contractor to assist the worker’s family. Following the incident, LTA also imposed a safety timeout to review work processes and is assisting the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Police in their investigations.

According to MOM, four workers were dismantling a man-lock chamber of a tunnel boring machine before the accident happened.  The man-lock chamber was being lowered using chain blocks, when it "suddenly swung and hit a work platform" 2.5 metres above the ground that the worker was standing on, causing him to fall to his death.

Workplace Safety and Health Council guidebook stated that man-lock chambers, which can be pressurised and depressurised, allow workers to move into and out of the compressed air section of the tunnel. While, compressed air is used in the construction of a tunnel to prevent the entry of ground water into the tunnel.

According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), it was alerted to the accident, which happened at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, at about 4.10 am. While the police stated that they were alerted to a case of unnatural death at a construction site near Block 642 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 at 4.04am.

China Railway No. 5 Engineering was awarded the design and construction of Lentor MRT station and its associated train tunnels worth $247 million in 2013.

As part of the second phase of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), Lentor MRT station is an underground stop which is targeted to be completed in 2020.

MOM had earlier announced that statistics of the workplace deaths fell to 42 cases in 2017, from 66 in 2016. Deaths in the construction sector halved from 24 to 12.