SINGAPORE: If safety standards had been observed, an accident which led to a security officer falling into a 4m-deep manhole and dying could have been avoided, the State Coroner said in findings released on Friday (Aug 14).
Shaun Tung Mun Hon died of a head injury after falling into the gondola pit at the second floor of the 1-Altitude Gallery & Bar in the early hours of Jun 9 last year, in what the coroner called "an unfortunate workplace accident". He was 26 years old.
His family intends to sue the bar. Mr Tung’s father stated that the management should take some responsibility for his son's death, as the gondola pit should not have been left open.
State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam said there was "no doubt" that Mr Tung and the other people at the bar that night had been "exposed to safety risks arising from the safety lapses at the premises".
READ: 1-Altitude security officer who died after falling into manhole tried to stop guests entering restricted area: Coroner's court
The Ministry of Manpower had produced a report identifying lapses including the ineffectiveness of retractable barricades and tables used to cordon off parts of the rooftop and the lack of lighting.
Even though Mr Tung had been given a site orientation and shown the floor opening to the pit, there were no instructions given on what security officers were supposed to do should a guest enter the cordoned-off areas.
Mr Tung had fallen into the pit while running towards two guests who had moved aside the barricades to try and enter the restricted area.
An accident advisory was sent out after the incident by the Workplace Safety and Health Council.
It recommended that all floor openings should be securely covered with warning signs nearby and that warning signs should be illuminated for night-time visibility.
"Workplace fatalities and injuries can only be eliminated through strict compliance with safety standards," said the coroner.
"It is the responsibility of the occupier and the employer to do everything reasonably practicable to comply with the safe work practices. If the safety standards had been observed, this accident could in all probability have been avoided."
She extended her condolences to Mr Tung's family for their sad loss.