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Tuas explosion: Inquiry Committee to study factors that led to fatal workplace incident

Tuas explosion: Inquiry Committee to study factors that led to fatal workplace incident

SCDF vehicles and police seen inside the compound after the explosion at a building at Tuas Avenue 11, on Feb 24, 2021. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Manpower Minister Josephine Teo will appoint an Inquiry Committee to examine the factors that led to a fatal fire and explosion at Stars Engrg in Tuas on Wednesday (Feb 24), the Ministry of Manpower said on Saturday.

The incident resulted in the deaths of three workers, with another five in critical condition. Two more workers who were taken to hospital have been discharged.

READ: 3 workers die from injuries, 5 in critical condition after Tuas explosion

The Inquiry Committee under the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act is expected to carry out a thorough study into the factors that led to the fire and explosion.

“It will also make recommendations including policy, regulatory or WSH measures to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents,” said MOM in a press release.  

Preliminary investigations have found that the accident at 32E Tuas Avenue 11 was caused by "a combustible dust explosion", said Mr Silas Sng, Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health.

READ: Tuas fire - The explosive danger of potato powder, sugar, flour and other dust particles
READ: February workplace fatalities climb to 10 after death of workers in Tuas explosion

The last time an inquiry was convened for a workplace accident was in 2004 to investigate the incident at the MRT worksite that led to the collapse of Nicoll Highway.

The composition of the Inquiry Committee as well as its Terms of Reference will be announced at a later date. The Inquiry Committee will be led by a district judge with two technical assessors, and its proceedings will be held in open court.

Senior Minister for State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said on Saturday morning in a Facebook post that MOM will share it priorities for the year at the annual Committee of Supply debate in Parliament next week.

“Singapore has made significant improvements to our workplace safety and health over the last 15 years,” he said.

“Our fatal injury rate at workplaces reduced from 4.9 per 100,000 workers in 2004, to 1.1 per 100,000 workers in 2019. While we have made significant progress, the recent spate of fatal incidents is evident that we must never be complacent and maintain high safety standards.”

He added: “We cannot afford to let down our guard, because every life lost is a breadwinner and a loved one lost. I strongly urge all our industry stakeholders to continue to pay close attention to workplace safety, as we restart our economy in a safe manner amidst the pandemic.”

Source: CNA/rw

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