'I almost died on the operating table': Pest exterminator hit by lorry after smoke blocks driver's vision

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Mohd Alem

With the number of workplace fatalities in the past nine months already more than the whole of last year, unsafe worksite practices have been in the spotlight recently.

One pest exterminator has taken to social media to share how he "almost died" while on the job fogging near a building. 

In a Facebook post shared on Tuesday (Oct 4), Mohd Alem said that he had to undergo emergency surgery after getting hit by a lorry on Aug 19.

"Because of this, I lost one vertebra (a small bone) and almost died on the operation table. That's what the doctors told me," he said in Malay.

The CCTV footage that Alem shared showed that the accident happened at an industrial building along Woodlands Avenue 10.

From the 40-second video, it showed the pest exterminator fogging near a car park gantry – causing piles of smoke to spread around the area.

But while Alem was spraying the gas along the road, he was unaware that he was walking in the same direction as an oncoming lorry.

When the carpark gantry was lifted, the lorry driver surged forward and collided with Alem, whose back was against the vehicle and was sent flying sideways. 

While thanking netizens in the comments for their well wishes, Alem shared that he is unsure who is at fault for the accident. 

Several netizens also gave their take on who was at fault for causing this accident.

"All parties in the wrong," a netizen suggested, while Alem replied that the driver should have stopped if there was zero visibility.

Screengrab/Facebook/Mohd Alem

Another netizen cheekily commented in Malay that "the mosquitos were at fault".

Responding to AsiaOne's queries on Friday (Oct 7), the police shared that they were alerted to the accident on Aug 19 at about 10.30am.

A 50-year-old pedestrian was conveyed conscious to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, SCDF added.

AsiaOne has contacted Alem for more information.

There were 28 workplace fatalities in the first six months of this year, which is five more than the same period in 2021, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Falls from height and vehicular-related incidents made up half of the workplace deaths.

On Aug 22, a Bangladeshi worker fell into the sea after a shore crane collapsed at Keppel Shipyard in Tuas, which also injured four of his colleagues.

Two days later, the SCDF shared that their officers had fished the 38-year-old's body out of the waters near the shipyard after a search operation.

Earlier in the same month, a tow truck driver died on Aug 3 after he was pinned between a bus and a pillar at a private transport interchange in Kranji.

In response to the high workplace-related deaths, MOM has implemented a six-month period of heightened safety from Sep 1 to Feb 28 next year.

chingshijie@asiaone.com

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