2 jailed over safety lapses that led to worker deaths: MOM
SINGAPORE – Two men were found guilty in December 2023 of workplace safety lapses that led to deaths in separate incidents, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Jan 8.
Ding Dezhu was sentenced to eight months’ jail on Dec 12, 2023, while Cheok Kok Chau was sentenced to five months’ jail on Dec 22, 2023.
Ding was a site supervisor for Siong Construction and Engineering. On Aug 3, 2020, he instructed 11 workers to manually shift a makeshift storeroom.
The workers were obstructed by two plywood panels while working, and one fell from a height of about 6m while removing one of the panels. The worker was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and died of his injuries on the same day.
MOM said Ding had told the workers to carry out work at a location without ensuring that a concealed floor opening there did not pose any danger to them, despite being aware of the opening.
Three other people were earlier fined for this workplace accident.
Separately, Cheok was the director of excavator rental business Synergy-Biz, which also transports the machines to and from its clients’ premises.
On Aug 25, 2022, Mr Tan Tiong Chee was tasked with transporting a forklift out of a worksite via a lorry, even though he was not a trained forklift operator. After reversing the forklift up the lorry, he went to its front to secure it, but the forklift rolled forward and ran over him.
He was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, and died of his injuries on the same day.
MOM’s investigations showed Synergy-Biz had failed to ensure a risk assessment was conducted for the loading and unloading of machinery onto a lorry, or that there were safe work procedures to mitigate the risk of this action. The ministry added that the company had failed to ensure workers were trained properly to do the required work.
“Both cases reflect a blatant lack of workplace safety and health ownership, resulting in the tragic deaths of workers. Everyone must play their part to ensure that our workplaces are safe, for workers and businesses to thrive,” the ministry said.
There were 30 workplace deaths in 2020, and 46 in 2022.
MOM added that employers must implement effective measures to ensure worker safety. They can learn more about programmes to strengthen safety practices at go.gov.sg/wshprogrammes.
Workers must observe safe work procedures and report any unsafe work activities via SnapSAFE.
The ministry added: “MOM takes a serious view of errant employers and workers who put the lives of others at risk, and will not hesitate to prosecute those responsible for the wrongdoing.”
Sa’at, H. (n.d.). 2 jailed over safety lapses that led to worker deaths: MOM. The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/2-found-guilty-of-workplace-safety-lapses-mom