A second migrant worker who was travelling in the back of a lorry has died in the hospital after the vehicle he was in collided with a stationary tipper truck on the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE).
The victim was one of the 16 migrant workers who were brought to the hospital for treatment following the accident.
The fatal accident, which occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning (20 April), had earlier claimed the life of 33-year-old Bangladeshi worker, Toffazal Hossain, after he succumbed to the injuries in the hospital on the day of the accident itself.
All the migrant workers were travelling to worksite in Woodlands on the back of a lorry with no seatbelts on.
According to the Facebook post of the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) on Friday morning (23 April), the second worker died of his injuries in the hospital.
“We are in contact with his mother, who is also working in Singapore, to extend our assistance and deepest condolences to her and the family,” said MWC in the post.
It added, “We will also be working with the employer to furnish the documentation and claims needed to file for the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) compensation.
As an update, MWC also noted that three of the workers have been discharged from the hospital, while another worker has been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and is now in the High Dependency Unit. Four more of the workers are still recovering in the hospital.
Police revealed that they were alerted at 6.06am on Tuesday of the accident on the PIE towards Changi Airport before the Jalan Bahar exit.
According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), two individuals were found trapped in the rear compartment of the lorry, and were rescued using hydraulic equipment.
The lorry passengers, aged between 23 and 46, were sent to National University Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
The police also noted that two of the workers were unconscious after the accident.
The lorry driver, a 36-year-old man, was arrested for careless driving causing death.
In Friday’s MWC post, it also noted that it spoke to all of the injured workers to find out how they are coping. “The workers shared with us that the company has spoken to them and assured them that they would be taken care of.”
As for Mr Hossain, he leaves behind his parents, his wife and a two-year-old son. He has three sisters, who are all married, as well as younger brother, who is currently still studying.
MWC said that it has contacted the Mr Hossain’s brother to better understand their family situation and the assistance they require.
“He was the sole bread winner of the family. We are also in touch with Toffazal’s wife to see how else can we help them tide through this very difficult period, until WICA compensation is paid out,” MWC said.
LTA should be answerable for the accident, says activist
The Land Transport Authority (LTA), who has repeatedly not enforce appropriate safety standards for transporting workers, should be the one answerable for this fatal accident and not the lorry driver, said activist Kokila Annamalai in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“Pinning this on yet another worker (lorry driver) made to work under unsafe conditions – and moving on as if justice has been done – will not do. He cannot be the scapegoat for the government’s wilful neglect of migrant workers’ safety and the utter disregard for their lives that had gone on for decades,” said Ms Kokila.
She added, “What does it mean to build this city not just on the backs of a million exploited migrant workers, but at the cost of their lives, so cheaply discarded for profit maximisation? If they died because we put profit above their lives, then are these accidents or murders?”
She went on to note that such deaths of migrant workers are “preventable”, yet Singapore has the “audacity to claim that migrant workers should count themselves lucky to be ‘safe’ here during the pandemic.”