Death of construction worker ruled a misadventure

SINGAPORE - The death of a worker after a construction-site accident near Palawan Beach in Sentosa last January was ruled a "misadventure of an industrial nature" by a state coroner on Monday.

Mr Zhou Tonglin, 35, and nine other colleagues fell about 10m into wet concrete when the scaffolding they were standing on gave way under the weight of the concrete being poured into it.

The others escaped with injuries, but the Chinese national could not be revived in hospital after he was extricated from a pile of wet cement and metal rods.

He suffocated to death after the incident around 3.10pm on Jan 29 last year.

On Monday, State Coroner Marvin Bay said no foul play was suspected in Mr Zhou's death, adding that the collapse was "entirely accidental in nature".

The court said that Mr Zhou worked for Genocean Construction, a subcontractor carrying out works, such as building the formwork structure, for a three-storey family entertainment centre that was scheduled for completion on Aug 17 last year.

Investigations by the Manpower Ministry found that the formwork shoring system in question had not been made in line with specifications and a professional engineer's design.

A detailed analysis also uncovered pre-existing cracks in some parts of the structure, among other things. It grew increasingly unstable as concrete was poured in, and collapsed.

The 10 workers, who had donned only safety helmets and not harnesses, fell from the second storey of the structure to ground level.

"I would thus find Mr Zhou's demise from suffocation from submersion in cement powder to be a most unfortunate misadventure of an industrial nature, and extend my deepest sympathies to his family," Coroner Bay said.

This article was first published on January 21, 2015.
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