Worker's death: Checks on crane model ordered

Worker's death: Checks on crane model ordered

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has instructed construction firms to conduct checks on a particular crane model that was identified as the likely cause of a construction worker's death last year.

Chinese national Liu Debao, 40, was hit by a tower crane's load and pushed off an unfinished HDB building in Fernvale Street on Jan 23 last year. He fell 19 storeys to his death.

The crane in question, the Guohong QTZ250, was manufactured in China by Shandong Guohong Zhonggong Mechanical Co. There are nine such cranes being used in Singapore.

Over the weekend, MOM officers informed construction firms using these cranes at five locations that they will have to engage approved crane contractors to do thorough functional checks on the machines, an MOM spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday.

"These cranes have to be re-certified by a Professional Engineer who is an authorised examiner, before they are allowed to resume operation," said the spokesman. New installations of Guohong QTZ250 cranes have also been suspended until the design of their control system has been reviewed, he added.

These tightened safety measures come after the State Coroner said last Thursday during an inquiry into Mr Liu's death that an advisory should be issued to warn users of the cranes here.

During the inquiry, it was revealed that the accident could have been due to a fault in the design of the crane.

Mr Jimmy Chua, vice-chairman of the Singapore Cranes Association, said his association will send out a circular to remind crane contractors of the checks ordered by MOM. He added that most cranes in Singapore are manufactured by European, American and Japanese companies.

Still, industry players noted that some companies may use cranes made in China because they are about 30 per cent to 40 per cent cheaper than those from other countries.

A spokesman for Qingjian International (South Pacific) Group Development, the builder of the Fernvale Street HDB project where the accident happened, said the company has stopped using cranes of the Guohong QTZ250 model at the site.

This article was first published on May 26, 2015.
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