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Jurong Shipyard fined S$230,000 for accident that killed two workers in 2011

SINGAPORE — Less than two months after it was fined a record S$400,000 for safety lapses, Jurong Shipyard was on Thursday (Jan 4) fined S$230,000 for a separate accident in 2011 that saw two workers plunging 30m to their deaths.

Jurong Shipyard fined S$230,000 for accident that killed two workers in 2011

Overview of the accident scene within the dry dock of Jurong Shipyard. The boom of the cherry picker buckled and collapsed on Oct 29, 2011, causing 2 workers to plunge 30m to their deaths. Photo: Ministry of Manpower

SINGAPORE — Less than two months after it was fined a record S$400,000 for safety lapses, Jurong Shipyard was on Thursday (Jan 4) fined S$230,000 for a separate accident in 2011 that saw two workers plunging 30m to their deaths.

The workers – an Indian national and a Thai national – were employees of Shipblast Marine, which had been engaged by Jurong Shipyard to carry out grit blasting work to smoothen the surface of a vessel in a dry dock.

On Oct 29, 2011, Ramudu Sivakumar, 25, and Phromprasoet Thanawan, 32, were in a cherry picker that had not been properly maintained. The picker buckled and collapsed, causing the workers to fall and die.

The accident, which occurred at 29 Tanjong Kling Road, was not previously reported in the media.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Manpower, all four boom sections and the basket of the cherry picker were corroded, and it underwent an 18-month overhaul that was completed in July 2011.

The second boom section’s boom plate had been worn down to less than half its original thickness of 6mm.

According to the manufacturer’s guidelines, it should have been replaced. But Jurong Shipyard, which is owned by Sembcorp Marine, only blasted and painted over the affected areas. This was because it erroneously referred to a different set of rules, said the MOM.

After the overhaul, Jurong Shipyard failed to do comprehensive checks of the boom. As part of daily and weekly checks for corrosion and cracks, the boom should have been extended fully to 35m but visual checks were conducted only up to 19.8m.

The undiscovered defects led to the fatal accident.

Jurong Shipyard was fined under the Workplace Safety and Health Act for failing to ensure the cherry picker was maintained in a safe condition.

Last November, the company was fined S$400,000 by the State Courts for multiple safety lapses that led to the sudden tilting of an oil rig under construction in Dec 2012, with nearly 1,000 workers on board.

It was one of the worst industrial accidents in recent times and 89 people were sent to hospital for treatment.

The fine equalled the record imposed on SMRT Trains for safety lapses that led to the deaths of two trainees near Pasir Ris MRT station in March 2016.

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