Engineering boss killed by toppling glass panels

Engineering boss killed by toppling glass panels

SINGAPORE - An engineering firm boss who was propping up eight glass door panels in a crate was killed when they fell on him because they had not been stabilised safely, a coroner's inquiry found yesterday.

Mr Chen Zhonghua, 39, was the only person holding up the panels, which "towered over him", while four colleagues unloaded them for a condominium project in Changi.

There was a sudden shout and a loud bang, and they told investigators that they found Mr Chen lying face up, pinned underneath the eight panels, which weighed 400kg in total. He was conscious, but bleeding from the head.

The permanent resident suffered severe head injuries and heart complications, and died in hospital about an hour after the accident on Nov 21 last year.

State Coroner Marvin Bay said the 2.3m-high sliding panels should never have been stacked vertically on the wooden crate without any mechanical support.

Coroner Bay found that the weight of the falling doors caused the victim - who was 1.67m tall and weighed 57kg - to fall and hit his head. He accepted a Manpower Ministry report which questioned the lack of any attempt to unload the panels in a safe way or assess the risks involved.

"He was... a single person propping up no less than 400kg of vertically stacked wall panels," Coroner Bay said. "It would have been difficult... as he would have little leverage to prop up objects that towered over him."

Mr Chen ran Hua Da Engineering Work, which was installing windows and sliding glass doors at the Hedges Park Condominium project along Flora Drive. The Fujian native leaves behind a widow and two young sons.

The State Coroner said no foul play was involved in his death.

This article was first published on May 23, 2014.
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