Jurong Shipyard fined S$230,000 over death of 2 workers in cherry picker accident

Jurong Shipyard fined S$230,000 over death of 2 workers in cherry picker accident

Jurong Shipyard file
This general view shows a ship under repair at a dry dock in the Jurong Industrial District of Singapore, 22 December 2004. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman) 

SINGAPORE: Jurong Shipyard has been fined S$230,000 after two employees fell 30m from a hydraulic crane and died in a workplace accident, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday (Jan 4). 

In a press release, MOM said that the duo had been working in the basket of a cherry picker - an aerial platform used to access work areas at height - when its boom "suddenly buckled and collapsed onto the floor" of a dry dock. 

The workers, who had been carrying out grit-blasting work at the front of a vessel docked at Jurong Shipyard, were "fatally injured when they fell about 30m to the bottom of the dry dock" in the accident on Oct 29, 2011, it added.

Jurong Shipyard cherry picker accident
(Photo: Ministry of Manpower)

According to MOM, the cherry picker had completed an 18-month overhaul maintenance just three months  before the accident. 

Corrosion was found on all the four boom sections and basket, and blasting and painting were carried out over the affected areas to rectify the problems. 

"However, the second boom section appeared to have sustained the most significant material wastage (wear) with the remaining boom plate thickness measured to be as low as 2.86mm," the ministry said. The original thickness of the boom plate was reported to be 6mm. 

MOM said that based on the manufacturer's guidelines, the second boom should have been replaced, but it was not. Instead of referring to the manufacturer's inspection guidelines, Jurong Shipyard had "erroneously referred" to the American Bureau of Shipping rules for survey after construction. 

These are "meant for conventional vessels and not for lifting equipment", added MOM. 

Jurong Shipyard also failed to conduct comprehensive checks on all the boom sections after the overhaul maintenance.

"As part of the daily and weekly checks for corrosion and cracks, the boom had to be extended fully. However, for this particular model of cherry pickers, visual checks on the boom were conducted only up to 19.8m of boom extension, instead of its full extension of 35m," the press release said. 

"Defects within the unextended boom sections that led to the fatal accident were not detected during these checks." 

Jurong Shipyard was fined S$400,000 in November last year after a 2012 incident in which the Noble Regina Allen oil rig under construction suddenly tilted during testing. A large number of workers suffered injuries, with 89 workers sent to various hospitals for treatment.

Source: CNA/hs