Two companies fined $325k over worker’s death

A MOM prosecutor said that both companies disregarded safety processes and used shoddy construction materials

Two companies fined $325k over worker’s death
Two companies have recently been fined more than $300,000 in connection with the death of construction worker Rahul Chandra Bhowmik in 2014.

The 25-year-old Bangledashi worker was killed when a formwork structure he was standing on collapsed and injured another worker.

District courts ordered Low Keng Huat, the occupier of the worksite, to pay $125,000 “for contravening the Workplace Safety and Health Act”, said the report by The Straits Times.

Meanwhile, construction firm Hongplast General Contractors, the erector of the formwork structures, was also fined $200,000. 

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) prosecutor Delvinder Singh said that the frames used in the structure “were severely deformed and fractured at multiple locations”.

He added that pre-existing corrosions and perforations in the frames exacerbated the problem, causing it to topple over and Bhowmik to suffer a fatal head injury.

‘Deaths preventable’
Last month, the Workplace Safety and Health Institute (WHSI) reported that workplace fatalities were up by 40%, while a recent report by The Straits Times said there have already been 55 deaths tallied in the workplace so far.

“Our analysis of the construction workplace fatalities indicates systematic lapses, workers’ competency and absence of ownership as key drivers of the deteriorating situation in the construction sector,” said a MOM spokesperson of the fatalities.

National Trades Union Congress (NUTC) assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay also commented that the one thing all these death had in common was that they were preventable. 

“Leaders of organisations need to take ownership. Supervisors need to lead by example,” he emphasised.

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