Worker jailed for negligence

Worker jailed for negligence
FORKLIFT DRIVER: Zhang Xiang Guo was yesterday sentenced to a week’s jail and disqualified from driving for a year.

He was sitting on the upper deck of a double-decker SBS bus when metal pipes suddenly smashed through the windscreen, hitting him in the face.

Indian national Saravanasamy Senthilnathan, 29, broke a face bone, had his nose and an eyelid torn and suffered two puncture wounds to his head and multiple wounds to his right cheek.

Three other men who were also sitting in the upper deck of SBS Transit Service 255 were also injured in the April 12, 2013, incident.

The bus had crashed into metal pipes that a forklift driver had lifted at Gul Circle near Tuas Road at around 7.45pm.

The forklift driver, Chinese national Zhang Xiang Guo, 37, was yesterday sentenced to a week's jail.

The welder pleaded guilty to one count of causing grievous hurt to Mr Saravanasamy by performing a negligent act.

Zhang, whose job scope included unloading and unloading goods, was also disqualified from driving for a year.

A second charge of causing hurt to the other three men - Mr Qiu Yu, 21, Mr Win Ko Ko, 22, and Mr Kang Boon Leng, 31 - by performing a negligent act was taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that before the accident, a truck had unloaded three 12m-long pipes onto Zhang's forklift at the driveway of his employer, New Funnels, which provides marine and offshore services.

LIFTED

The pipes were placed parallel to one another on the forklift and lifted to a height of about 3.4m.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Zhang Hongchuan said that Zhang admitted that he usually had somebody nearby to control the traffic when he was loading and unloading goods.

That evening, he was supposed to receive directions from his colleague, Mr Muhammad Haikal Jelani. But Mr Haikal had gone over to the truck to sign a document.

Zhang moved the forklift anyway and caused portions of the pipes to protrude from the driveway onto the main road.

In his negligence, he did not check for oncoming vehicles from the public road before moving the forklift.

He later spotted the bus heading towards the pipes and honked, but it was too late.

DPP Zhang said: "The driver of the SBS bus hit the brakes, but the protruding metal pipes smashed into the left side of the upper deck and caused bodily injuries to the four victims."

Mr Saravanasamy was taken to hospital and had to undergo skin grafting. He also had "foreign glass bodies" removed from the two puncture wounds on his head.

He spent seven days in hospital and was given 66 days of medical leave.

Zhang's lawyer Chia Boon Teck said his client will be appealing against the sentence.

Zhang was offered bail of $15,000 pending appeal.

For causing grievous hurt by performing a negligent act, he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg

 


This article was first published on Apr 8, 2015.
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