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Update on blast at 3 Benoi Road

13 May 2011

  1. On 12 May 2011, a fatal accident involving two male workers occurred at a ship-repair facility on 3 Benoi Road. A blast at the site led to the death of the workers, a 43 year-old Malaysian and a 20 year-old Bangladeshi.

    Preliminary Findings
  2. Preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate (OSHI) revealed that the accident involved a barge that was undergoing lengthening works1 within Haosen Marine Pte Ltd’s premises at 3 Benoi Road.
  3. The barge has 14 separate tanks and 4 of the tanks ruptured during the blast. The tanks that ruptured during the accident were: No. 2 Port Tank, No. 3 Port Tank, No. 3 Starboard Tank and No. 4 Starboard Tank. Please refer to Diagram A in the Annex.
  4. Our investigations revealed that flammable vapours were present in the remaining tanks of the barge after the blast. Hence, the possibility of a flash fire in the damaged tanks resulting in the blast could not be ruled out. The presence of flammable vapours was likely a result of paint vapours from the spray painting that had been carried out 3 days before the accident. Further investigations by OSHI will seek to confirm whether the flammable vapours in the tanks had fuelled a flash fire, leading to the blast and whether hot works were being carried out.

    Impact of the Blast
  5. The blast had ripped apart the front portion of the barge. The wall panels of a workshop situated about 5 metres from the barge were dislodged as a result of the blast. About 10 workers were in the workshop when the blast occurred and some of them sustained light scratches. Please refer to the Annex for photographs of the accident scene.
  6. The 43 year-old Malaysian worker was working on top of the barge at the time of the accident, and was thrown off the barge by the blast. The 20 year-old Bangladeshi was around the vicinity of the barge when the accident occurred.

    Loss of Two Lives a Sombre Reminder to remain Vigilant
  7. Emphasising the need to remain vigilant to prevent workplace accidents, Mr Ho Siong Hin, the Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health, said “This tragic accident is a sombre reminder for everyone to remain vigilant and be alert to risks at work. The two workers who died in the tragic accident had families, colleagues and friends who are now mourning the sudden loss of their loved ones. Accidents occur when safe work procedures are not followed due to complacency or when rushing jobs. Even as we mourn the loss of the lives of two workers from the tragedy, I urge everyone - employers, contractors, supervisors, workers - at all levels to play your part to prevent such needless loss of lives.”

1 Work was being conducted on the barge to extend its length. The barge measured approximately 50m (Length) x 20m (Width) x 2m (Height) when the accident occurred.

Annex - Diagram A and photographs