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Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has issued two Stop-Work Orders (SWOs) to two factory occupiers following findings from preliminary inspections into two recent fatal accidents.

The first fatal accident took place at China Railway No. 8 – WSHC JV’s worksite along Punggol Way / Punggol Road on Thursday, 5 November 2015.

Preliminary findings indicate a worker died after he fell out of the bucket of an excavator that was being used to lift him and another worker out of a five-metre shaft.

MOM’s inspection revealed the worksite had carried out unsafe excavation works without proper shoring or access. Falling hazards were also observed at open sides of many unguarded areas.

There were no access controls to the site and no means of traffic management within it.

Owing to these “serious workplace safety lapses”, MOM has issued a full SWO to the occupiers to stop all operations at the site and to rectify the non-conformance before operations are allowed to resume.

The second fatal accident occurred at a metalworking factory occupied by Zoom Engineering on 30 October 2015, where findings indicated a worker was fatally pinned under steel plates that were dislodged during a lifting operation.

MOM’s inspection revealed several safety lapses in the factory, as a result of which it has similarly issued an immediate full SWO.

This requires the factory occupier to review its incompatible work processes, conduct a thorough risk assessment for lifting activities, and ensure the safe use of machinery before work can resume.

Sam Tan, Minister of State for Manpower, said: “The safety lapses which resulted in the recent accidents are totally unacceptable. They could have been avoided with effective control and management of the worksite.”

“It is deplorable for companies to subject their workers to such foreseeable risks. We will take stern action against these errant companies who had failed to ensure a safe workplace for their workers.”

If the final investigations determine the companies have contravened the WSH Act, they will be prosecuted and punishable for up to $500,000 for a first offence.

Image: Shutterstock

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