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Singapore

Prime mover driver jailed for failing to follow safety measures, resulting in death of worker

Prime mover driver jailed for failing to follow safety measures, resulting in death of worker

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: A 34-year-old prime mover driver was sentenced to jail on Wednesday (May 11) for failing to follow safety measures while at work, resulting in the death of his fellow worker. 

Muhammad Zulqarnain Bin Boymen, was sentenced to 20 weeks in jail for negligence, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a press release. 

The incident happened on Mar 22, 2018, when Zulqarnain was driving a prime mover to collect an ISO tank container on a trailer.

The ISO tank (tank 1) he meant to collect was blocked by another ISO tank (tank 2), said MOM. 

“Without checking, Zulqarnain reversed the prime mover in order to couple it with tank 2 to move it out of the way,” the ministry added. 

At that moment his fellow worker, Sivasamy Nethaji, was standing in between the two tanks to disconnect a steam hose from tank 1.

When the prime mover reversed, it pushed tank 2 backwards, pinning Sivasamy between both tanks. 

Sivasamy was later freed and taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. 

Zulqarnain pleaded guilty to one charge of committing a negligent act which caused the death of his fellow worker. 

MOM said its investigations found that Zulqarnain had failed to observe safety procedures during the coupling process and the operation of the prime mover.

“When coupling with tank 2, Zulqarnain was supposed to activate the trailer brake, put the wheel chock on the wheels of the trailer, and check if the coupling area was free of other personnel,” said MOM. 

"However, he did not carry out any of these measures before proceeding with the coupling procedure," it added. 

Bee Joo Industries, the occupier of the workplace, has also been charged under the Workplace Safety and Health Act. The case is still ongoing. 

"This incident is a tragic example of how the unsafe operation of heavy vehicles like prime movers can lead to the loss of life," said MOM's director of occupational safety and health inspectorate Sebastian Tan. 

"It is therefore critical that drivers of heavy vehicles take ownership of safety and ensure that all safety measures are carried out properly, and not take shortcuts." 

Source: CNA/yb(ta)

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