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Migrant worker crushed to death by steel beam in 2020: Company faces S$200,000 fine for safety breach

SINGAPORE — A 39-year-old migrant worker tragically lost his life in October 2020 when a 560 kg steel beam fell on him at an industrial site in Tuas.

The fatal workplace accident occurred on October 11, 2020, at around 11:25 a.m.

The deceased individual, an Indian national, was involved in adjusting the lashings used to secure steel beams on the bed of a lorry loader. Unfortunately, the lashing became loose, causing one of the beams to fall on the victim.

The victim was an employee of Hai Leck Engineering & Construction Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Hai Leck Holdings.

According to Lianhe Zaobao, the company was fined S$200,000 on Monday (10 July), due to its failure to provide sufficient guidance and information to its employees before commencing the construction work.

The deceased had been working as a lifting supervisor since October 2, 2014, and was assigned to a structural engineering project for a client company starting on January 2, 2020.

As per the case details, the victim reported to the construction site in the morning and attended a meeting to familiarize himself with the day’s tasks and relevant workplace safety procedures.

His responsibility was to oversee the transportation of designated materials to the site, which included five N-shaped steel beams and angle steel.

Following the meeting, the victim and the site supervisor proceeded to the factory located at 40 Tuas West Road, where the supervisor instructed the victim to load the materials onto a lorry loader.

The victim supervised and guided a forklift driver in transferring the materials from the storage area to the lorry loader.

Each N-shaped steel beam weighed approximately 560 kilograms and measured 6.47 meters in length and 1.35 meters in height.

Since the steel beams couldn’t be stacked, they were loaded onto the lorry loader in an upright position, with other materials placed underneath them.

The victim and his colleague completed the loading work at approximately 10:50 a.m. on that day.

To secure the materials, they used three slings with the assistance of the lorry loader driver, Prabakaran.

However, as Prabakaran drove the loader toward the factory gate, the site supervisor noticed that the first steel beam on the left side was tilted.

Upon signaling Prabakaran to stop, the supervisor and the victim discussed how to adjust the tilted beam. The victim proposed using the forklift to support the frame while loosening the lashings, and then employing the forklift to remove the tilted beam from the lorry loader.

Consequently, the victim’s colleague, Prabakaran, used the forklift to stabilize the tilted beam.

The victim proceeded to loosen the first sling and was about to untie the second and third slings simultaneously with Prabakaran when the right-side steel beam became unstable and suddenly collapsed, striking the victim. Prabakaran managed to evade the accident by jumping away in time.

Due to the incident, the victim suffered severe injuries to the head, ribs, and heart, and tragically passed away on the spot.

At the time, photos circulating on Facebook, supposedly depicting the incident, showed the victim lying beneath a steel beam.

The prosecution pointed out the company’s failure to adequately determine risk control measures

The prosecution emphasized that although the company had conducted a risk assessment for the project, it failed to sufficiently determine risk control measures regarding the stability of the loaded items, such as employing appropriate transport vehicles and securing equipment.

Additionally, the company failed to implement safety procedures and provide sufficient guidance and information to its employees, including instructing them on the proper handling of shifting objects and providing the type and information of relevant securing equipment to prevent the displacement of items during transportation.

As a result, the company violated workplace safety and health regulations and was fined S$ 200,000.

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