Construction worker paralysed after fall, company fined S$210,000
SINGAPORE — When a panel on which Mr Miah Jobayed was standing came loose, the Bangladeshi national fell 5.5m to the ground. The accident in 2016 left the then-31-year-old permanently paralysed and he had to be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life.
SINGAPORE — When a panel on which Mr Miah Jobayed was standing came loose, the Bangladeshi national fell 5.5m to the ground.
The accident in 2016 left the then-31-year-old permanently paralysed and he had to be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life.
For breaching safety regulations in the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA), construction firm Ava Global was fined S$210,000, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement on Wednesday (May 22).
Mr Jobayed’s supervisor Sarkar Mithun was jailed nine weeks.
This is the second time Ava Global is involved in a workplace injury case. Six years ago, a Chinese national sued the firm, along with other contractors, and was compensated S$200,000 in total.
HOW THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED
Ava Global was sub-contracted by construction firm Ken-Pal to carry out facade-related works for a building in the National University of Singapore.
The company appointed Sarkar, who was then 33 years old, to supervise the installation of ceiling panels.
However, MOM investigations revealed that the company did not provide the Bangladeshi supervisor with instructions on how to install the ceiling panels.
So he decided on a method himself, based on his own observations of how another company previously did it.
Using a boom lift, Mr Jobayed went up to the ceiling level of the building, climbed above the ceiling panels and stood on a steel structure. He did not use any safety harness.
Sarkar and another worker then used the boom lift to get up as well, taking with them one panel.
As they were aligning the panel into position, Mr Jobayed moved to stand on another ceiling panel that was previously installed. But that panel dislodged and swung downwards, plunging him to the ground.
He was taken to the National University Hospital where he underwent surgery. His spinal cord injury led to him being permanently paralysed.
WORKERS’ SAFETY NEGLECTED
MOM’s investigations revealed that Sarkar did not obtain a permit-to-work before carrying out the installation works.
A permit-to-work is required before workers can start any work that is more than 3m above ground because there would be an independent safety evaluation on how the construction works should be carried out.
Instead, Sarkar decided on the installation method on his own and did not ensure that he and his workers wore safety harnesses or helmets.
Ava Global did not take adequate measures to ensure the safety and health of its employees.
It did not establish a proper method of carrying out the investigation, and it did not get a permit-to-work before carrying out the installation works, MOM said.
It also did not ensure that its workers were adequately trained to carry out their tasks and were using safety equipment.
The ministry reported that six out of nine workplace fatalities since the start of this year were construction-related.
In a Facebook post last week, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State for Manpower, said that out of the six deaths, five were from sub-contractors or small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The first quarter of this year also recorded the highest number of construction fatalities quarterly since the fourth quarter of 2017.
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