PIE viaduct collapse 'a man-made incident that could have been avoided': Lim Swee Say

PIE viaduct collapse 'a man-made incident that could have been avoided': Lim Swee Say

PIE accident site (Gaya)
The site of an accident at a construction site near the PIE, where a highway structure collapsed. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: The collapse of an uncompleted viaduct near the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) was a man-made incident that "could have been avoided", Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say said on Tuesday (Jul 25).

A worker was killed and 10 others injured when the structure, which was being built along Upper Changi Road East, collapsed in the early hours of Jul 14.

"One thing for sure is that this is a man-made incident that could have been avoided, if everyone involved in this project had paid enough attention to the design and construction of the viaduct, and the safety of workers," said Mr Lim at the annual Workplace Safety and Health Awards.

A multi-agency probe into the collapse is ongoing. Preliminary investigations indicated that corbels - brackets that help support beams - had given way. Cracks were also found in the areas supporting 11 other parts of the viaduct.

PIE accident site (Gaya) - 2
The site of an accident at a construction site near the PIE, where a highway structure collapsed. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

Mr Lim called the accident "a wake-up call for all of us", warning against complacency and taking workplace safety for granted.

Chinese national Chen Yinchuan, who was killed in the incident, had come to Singapore just three months ago to work as a construction worker, Mr Lim said. "It was his first time working in Singapore. He wanted to earn and save more for his three-year old son. But instead, he lost his life here."

Six of the injured workers are still warded at Changi General Hospital. Two of them are in the high-dependency ward and a third, Gao Li Qin, is still in unstable condition, Mr Lim said. 

The incident reinforced the need to maintain the “heat” on companies, to ensure that workplace safety and health is taken seriously, Mr Lim said.

"What we really want to see is for more companies to not just feel the “heat” but more importantly, to also see the 'light' - to recognise that investment in workplace safety and health is good for both workers and the business."

He added: "It is our shared responsibility to ensure that every worker can go home safely every day, and every foreign worker can return to their home country after every work assignment here.

"A safe workplace is good for businesses too, because productivity and safety are essentially two sides of the same coin. One cannot do without the other."

Source: CNA/jp

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