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Contractor fined $280,000 after worker fatally crushed by toppled gate at Bartley Road worksite

  1. Sterling Engineering Pte Ltd was today fined $280,000 under the Workplace Safety and Health Act (“WSHA”) for a fatal accident that occurred on 2 September 2014.
  2. Sterling Engineering Pte Ltd was charged for failing to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of its employees for the safe installation of the steel sliding gate. It was convicted after a 18-day trial for the offence.
  3. Mr Chan Yew Kwong, MOM’s Director of Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate, "This is yet another incident where an employer failed to ensure safety and caused the unnecessary loss of a life. In this case, the weight and size of the gate leaf alone should have alerted the employer to the safety risks that its workers were being exposed to when working on the gate leaf. A heavy fine was sought for this case to remind employers that they bear full responsibility for the safety of their workers throughout the work process."

    Case Background

  4. Sterling Engineering Pte Ltd was contracted for the supply, delivery and installation of a double-leaf manually operated steel sliding gate at the worksite at Bartley Road.
  5. MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health Division’s (“OSHD”) investigations revealed that each gate leaf measured approximated 4.68m wide and 3.1m high, and weigh approximately 1,500kg. The gate leaves were delivered to the worksite on 30 August 2014. By 1 September 2014, the gate leaves were installed and remaining works to be done on the gates included welding, grinding and painting of the outriggers on the gate leaves and testing the gate’s sliding movement.
  6. On 2 September 2014, Sterling Engineering Pte Ltd had tasked five of its employees, including the Deceased worker, to continue working on the steel gates. As the gate was not opening or closing smoothly, the workers were tasked to check the sliding motion of the gate leaves. When the workers were pulling the steel sliding gate, it toppled and fatally pinned one worker to the ground.

    MOM’s Investigation Findings

  7. MOM’s investigations revealed the following failures by Sterling Engineering Pte Ltd:

    i) Failed to conduct a thorough risk assessment. The risks and hazards of moving the gate, and the risk that the gate may over-travel or topple, were not identified and addressed in the risk assessment;

    ii) Failed to ensure safety measures/features were installed or followed in respect of the work process of installing the gate.
    a. Temporary stoppers or other effective measures to prevent over-travelling and consequently toppling of the gate were not installed;
    b. Work had commenced without the approval of a Permit-to-Work; and
    c. Warnings signs to warn others not to move the incomplete gate were not put up.

    iii) Failed to ensure that the workers had adequate information and supervision as was necessary for them to perform their work.
    a. Adequate safe work instructions were not provided in the Method Statement or Safe Work Processes;
    b. The Risk Assessment briefing was conducted in an ineffective manner. The risk and hazards posed by the gate to the workers were not specifically communicated prior to the commencement of the installation works; and
    c. Adequate supervision was not provided on site.