Boss fined $140K following employee's death

This is the highest fine given to an employer under Workplace Safety and Health Act

Boss fined $140K following employee's death

The boss of a transportation company in Singapore was fined $140,000 under the Workplace Safety and Health Act for a fatal incident resulting from unsafe operations.

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), this is the highest fine imposed on an individual prosecuted under the Act.

The worker tasked to handle the operations was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

On 26 April 2016, Ong Chin Chong, owner of Unipac Transport Service Pte Ltd had operated the lorry crane and supervised his two workers for the operation.

MOM’s investigations revealed that Ong failed to ensure that the lifting system was in good condition and of adequate strength and construction before instructing his workers to use it to carry out the task.

Ong also did not ensure that his workers were trained to perform lifting operations. Both workers, including the victim, were employed as technicians.

They had neither attended safety courses on lifting operations nor were briefed on proper handling methods. Despite this, they were tasked with such risky operations.

MOM also found that Ong had failed to appoint trained personnel to supervise the operations, as required under the Workplace Safety and Health regulations.

As the employer, he failed to conduct a specific risk assessment for lifting operations to identify foreseeable hazards and establish control measures to reduce the risks the workers were exposed to.

READ MORE: Minister chides Singapore employers for slacking on safety

“As the employer, Ong disregarded his workers’ safety and essentially left them to their own devices to manage the lifting activities,” said Sebastian Tan, MOM’s Director of Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate.

“Tragic accidents such as this can be averted if we all play our part in managing the hazards associated with high risk operations such as lifting.”

In connection with the same incident, Unipac was fined $60,000 for failing to ensure that its contractor had conducted an adequate risk assessment and developed appropriate control measures.

Sunway, the occupier of the worksite, was also fined $160,000 for failing to ensure that the lifting works carried by external parties had followed the right procedures.

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