Jurong Shipyard fined $230,000 over safety lapses that led to worker's death

SINGAPORE – Jurong Shipyard has been fined $ 230,000 for a fatal accident in 2015 which saw a worker struck and caught between a gantry crane and a manifold.

The shipyard was convicted of failing to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety of workers at its 5 Jalan Samulun site, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Monday (June 4).

The victim, Mr Stephen Yeo Chye Mong, was employed as a safety coordinator and patrol man by the shipyard’s subcontractor Foo Ngan Marine.

On March 20, 2015, he was conducting safety checks near the manifolds along the track of a gantry crane, which was in operation. A manifold refers to a pipe that has several openings.

At the time, he was lifting pieces of rolled up welding cables.

Shortly after, a co-worker found him lying on the ground between a utility water supply manifold and the gantry crane track.

He was taken to hospital, where he died on the same day.

Investigations by MOM found that there were systemic failures in the way Jurong Shipyard performed lifting operations using the gantry crane.

“These failures made the workplace dangerous, and also resulted in the accident,” MOM said in its statement.

These include:

  • Failing to appoint a banksman to ensure that nobody was in the travelling path of the gantry crane while it is in operation;
  • Failing to ensure that there were sufficient visual warning signs to inform workers, apart from members of the lifting team, to keep out of the lifting zone while such operations were in progress;
  • Failing to ensure that there was sufficient passageway clearance between the gantry crane track and the utility water supply manifold.

MOM found the clearance distance to be only 430mm, which was less than the 750mm recommended.

It added that the the measured distance was, in fact, only 80mm when the leg of the gantry crane moved past the utility water supply manifold along its track.

Mr Sebastian Tan, who heads MOM’s occupational safety and health inspectorate, noted that there were several safety lapses in the case.

Among them, the company “could have taken simple measures such as the deployment of banksman or warning signs to prevent the accident but it did not”.

He added: “A worker unfortunately paid the price with his life.”

In January, Jurong Shipyard was fined $ 230,000, after two workers fell 30m from a cherry picker and died.

In November 2017, it was fined a record $ 400,000 over a 2012 incident in which an oil rig tilted, injuring 89 people.

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