Share lessons from past construction accidents

SINGAPORE - The formwork collapse that killed a worker last Wednesday ("Worker falls to death after structure collapses"; last Thursday) reminded me of the Bugis MRT worksite accident last year, which killed two workers and left eight others injured ("MRT worksite roof collapses; 2 dead"; July 19, 2012).

Following that accident, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said in Parliament that his ministry was investigating, among other things, whether fatigue and extended working hours could have led to the accident.

This issue continues to be an important area of investigation in any workplace accident.

I am not aware of any public sharing of the lessons learnt from the Bugis MRT accident.

The Manpower Ministry issued a circular on safety requirements for formwork structures earlier this year, but it was a general reminder of existing safety requirements and did not highlight the causes of the Bugis accident.

I urge the ministry to share the investigation findings so as to help the industry learn from past accidents.

Even though the recent accident was on a smaller scale, the two-storey framework collapsed onto a public pavement and could have injured or killed passers-by.

In this case, it is important for the ministry to highlight the actions taken to minimise risks to the public within the vicinity of construction worksites.

Goh Yang Miang

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