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Professional Engineer Fined $50,000 for not Exercising Due Diligence in Certifying Safety of Lifting Equipment, Authorised Examiner Status Revoked

 

  1. Tan Juay Pah (“Tan”), a 61-year-old Professional Engineer and an Authorised Examiner (AE) for Lifting Equipment (LE) registered with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), was fined $50,000 on 24 June 2019, for his failure to exercise due diligence in certifying 14 scissors lifts* safe for use. He was convicted of five charges under the Workplace Safety and Health (“WSH”) Act, and 10 other charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing. In addition, MOM has revoked Tan’s AE status.

  2. This is the first time an AE has been convicted for failing to exercise due diligence in making certification or conducting any test or examination of any lifting appliance or machine. Under the WSH Act, a scissors lift used in a workplace must be thoroughly tested and examined once every six months by an AE who will issue a Certificate of Test/Thorough Visual Examination of Lifting Equipment (“LE Certificate”) to indicate that the scissors lift has been checked and is safe for use.

    Details of Cases

  3. Between March and October 2016, Tan issued a total of 15 LE Certificates for 14 scissors lifts, even though he did not examine nor test the equipment (he certified one of the scissors lift twice). The LE Certificates were issued to the owners of the scissors lifts who distributed copies to their respective lessees.

  4. One of the lessees, who received a copy of the LE Certificate but whose scissors lift was never examined by Tan, reported the case to MOM. The ministry commenced investigations into the LE certificates issued by Tan. Other lessees confirmed that no test nor examination were carried out by any AE on the scissors lifts before they received the LE Certificates (Refer to Annex A for the case details and investigation findings).

    Thorough Testing and Examination of Lifting Equipment Vital for Safety

  5. As a professional entrusted with the responsibility of certifying high-risk machines are safe for use, Tan failed to exercise due diligence during certification which could potentially endanger the safety of persons using the lifting equipment.

  6. Scissors lifts are used to provide a safe means of access in the form of an elevated work platform for workers carrying out work-at-height activities. The failure to detect faulty safety devices or defective structural components of the scissors lifts through a thorough test and examination could lead to catastrophic consequences such as serious injuries or even death (Refer to Annex B for potential consequences of faulty scissors lifts).

  7. Er. Mohd Ismadi, Director of MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health Specialist Department said, “By issuing certificates without conducting proper examinations and tests on the scissors lifts, Tan blatantly disregarded his duty as an AE and knowingly put the users of the scissors lifts at risk. MOM will not hesitate to take companies or individuals to task for serious breaches that would compromise the safety and health of workers.”

    Report Poor Professional Conduct of AEs

  8. Under regulation 21(15)(d) of the Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations, AEs have the duty to exercise all due diligence in making any certification or in conducting any test or examination of any lifting appliance or lifting machine. Any person who is convicted of an offence under the Regulation may be fined up to $20,000, and/or jailed for up to two years.

  9. All employers and employees with any information on AEs with poor professional conduct are encouraged to contact MOM at 6317 1111 or email mom_oshd@mom.gov.sg. All information will be kept strictly confidential. 

FOOTNOTE

  1. *Defined as lifting machines under the WSH Act, scissors lifts provide a safe means of access in the form of an elevated work platform for workers carrying out work-at-height activities.