Worker killed in worksite plunge

Worker killed in worksite plunge
MILLING AROUND:Workers outside the work area when The New Paper visited South Beach yesterday.

A construction worker was killed on Wednesday at a worksite at Beach Road where the South Beach project is being built.

Mr Sowndarajan Santhoshkumar, 27, an Indian national, plunged from the sixth storey of the building to the second when the beam that his safety harness was attached to fell.

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Mr Sowndarajan's safety harness was attached to the beam that was installed on the sixth floor and he was assigned to cut holes in the beam so it could be lowered to the ground.

When the beam fell, Mr Sowndarajan plunged with it, but his body was left suspended about two storeys above the ground.

A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman said they were alerted to the incident at 5.45pm on Wednesday. Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The New Paper understands that the SCDF activated the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team to bring the body down to the ground and the operation took about an hour.

MOM has issued a stop-work order at the site.

When TNP visited the site yesterday, workers were seen milling around outside the work area, while building equipment stayed silent.

Officers from the MOM's Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate were seen being accompanied by a representative from the builders.

South Beach, located opposite Raffles Hotel, is a mixed development that includes office towers, luxury apartments, a hotel and a retail space that is linked to Esplanade MRT Station.

The former Singapore Armed Forces Non-Commissioned Officers' Club and three army blocks, earmarked as conservation buildings, will be incorporated into the project, which will house a 29,000 sq ft private club and ballroom.

It is being developed by South Beach Consortium, a joint venture between City Developments Limited and its joint-venture partner, Malaysia's IOI Group. Work is being done at the site by Hyundai Engineering and Construction.

TNP understands that Mr Sowndarajan's body was sent back to Chennai, India, last night.

This incident comes as Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday announced a record low in the number of workplace fatalities last year, although the number of injures increased from 2013.


Speaking at the bizSAFE convention, Mr Tan called for the industry to bring the number of workplace fatalities "down to zero".

"We must, especially in the realm of workplace safety and health, endeavour desperately, earnestly, constantly every day to ensure that nobody gets killed or injured," he said.

Mr Tan added that while many small, medium enterprises (SMEs) want to watch out for their workers' health and safety, they find it difficult to translate this desire into action.

He highlighted several ways SMEs can put this into action and pointed out how companies can use subsidies provided by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to send their staff for safety training.

This article was first published on Feb 6, 2015.
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