SINGAPORE: A shipyard operator was fined S$200,000 on Thursday (Oct 27) in relation to the death of a worker who died after he was hit by a forklift in 2019.
On May 26, 2019, 30 year-old Bangladeshi painter and blaster Rahman Zillur was assigned to work on Asia Pacific Shipyard's (APS) site.
"Rahman was walking along a slipway when a forklift transporting a blasting pot to the shipyard’s storage area suddenly accelerated forward, crashed through a guardrail and fell into the slipway," the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a press release.
"The forklift struck Rahman, and he died at the scene from his injuries."
The worker operating the forklift, Shanmugam Sivarasu, was sentenced on Jul 21 to 11 months' jail, said MOM. He had operated the forklift without any training, while knowing the machine's brakes were faulty.
"His reckless act directly caused the death of Rahman," said MOM.
The supervisor in charge of the team working at the site, Yeduvaka Mali Naidu, was on Aug 10 sentenced to 11 months' jail after the prosecution's appeal.
He had allowed the untrained Shanmugam to operate forklifts on multiple occasions despite knowing that he was not certified, trained nor competent to do so, the Manpower Ministry said.
"In addition, he was also aware that the brakes of the forklifts were faulty, but he still used the faulty forklifts and allowed the untrained Shanmugam to do so," MOM said.
An MOM investigation found that APS, as the occupier of the workplace, had failed to prevent the unauthorised operation of forklifts, ensure their proper maintenance and that maintenance and repair was only performed by competent persons.
"APS’s failures resulted in the fatal accident," MOM added.
Lax practices on the ground culminated in the fatality that happened in 2019, said Sebastian Tan, the ministry's director of occupational safety and health inspectorate, adding that the incident was "unacceptable and totally preventable".
"Top management must take the lead by ensuring workplace safety and health management systems are effective, while supervisors and workers need to carry this through by ensuring safety practices are adhered to during operations," said Mr Tan.
"MOM strongly urges all stakeholders to make workplace safety and health a priority."