Tuesday, 26 September 2023

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Steam pipe ruptured during maintenance work on 15 June injures six workers on Jurong Island

SINGAPORE — Last Thursday (15 June), a steam pipe rupture occurred during maintenance work on Jurong Island, scalding six workers and necessitating their hospitalization.

According to The Straits Times (ST), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) confirmed that the incident took place while the workers, ranging in age from 25 to 51 from India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, were conducting maintenance on a furnace unit at ExxonMobil Asia Pacific.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received a distress call from 100 Jurong Island Highway at approximately 3:55 pm on the same day.

Four individuals were transported to Singapore General Hospital for burn injuries, while another worker with minor burn injuries was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

ExxonMobil arranged for the sixth worker to be sent to the hospital.

Out of the six workers, five are employed by PEC, an engineering services firm, while one is hired by Masterscan Engineering, another engineering services firm.

MOM has directed ExxonMobil Asia Pacific to halt all maintenance activities related to similar furnace equipment while investigations are ongoing.

“As a general safety measure, occupiers must ensure that pipelines are able to withstand intended pressures and are regularly maintained to prevent pipeline failures,” a MOM spokesman said.

ExxonMobil expressed its commitment to worker health and safety in a statement, assured that it would provide necessary care to the affected workers and cooperate with authorities during the investigation.

“We are cooperating with the authorities to investigate the incident and will make any necessary changes to ensure a safe workplace for our people,” he added.

PEC mentioned that due to the ongoing investigations, they are unable to share further details but are cooperating with the authorities and offering assistance to the injured workers and their families.

Singapore sees rise in workplace fatalities and occupational diseases in 2022

The number of workplace-related deaths, dangerous occurrences, and cases of occupational disease in Singapore increased in 2022, according to the annual Workplace Safety and Health Report released by the MOM in April this year.

The report showed that there were 46 workplace-related deaths in 2022, up from 37 in 2021, making it the highest number of fatalities since 2015 and 2016 when there were 66 each year.

The number of dangerous occurrences, incidents with a high potential for multiple fatalities but where no one was injured, also more than doubled from 13 in 2021 to 27 in 2022, with 56% of all incidents in the construction sector.

MOM announced on 23 May that the heightened safety period, which began in September and was initially extended from Feb 28 to May 31, would not be further prolonged.

Last week (15 June), a 20-year-old Indian worker was found dead beneath the rubble when a section of the Fuji Xerox Towers building in Tanjong Pagar collapsed during demolition works.

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