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Tuas explosion: Investigation findings expected in 3 to 6 months, says Zaqy Mohamad

Tuas explosion: Investigation findings expected in 3 to 6 months, says Zaqy Mohamad

Members from the inquiry committee on a visit to the accident site at Tuas on Mar 5, 2021. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

SINGAPORE: An inquiry committee set up to investigate the fatal fire and explosion at Stars Engrg in Tuas is expected to produce its findings in three to six months, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said on Friday (Mar 5).

On Feb 27, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said she would appoint an inquiry committee to examine the factors that led to the incident, which killed three workers and left five in critical condition. 

The five workers have since been moved from the intensive care unit to the high dependency ward, Mr Zaqy said during a visit to the accident site with the committee members. 

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad speaking to reporters during a visit to the accident site in Tuas on Mar 5, 2021. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

Another two workers who were taken to the hospital on the day of the incident have been discharged.

The committee is chaired by Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun, the Ministry of Manpower said in a press release on Friday. He was the Senior State Counsel who presented evidence in the inquiry into the collapse of the Circle Line at Nicoll Highway in April 2004. 

READ: Tuas fire: The explosive danger of potato powder, sugar, flour and other dust particles

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

Mr Ong will be assisted by two assessors, Mr Lucas Ng Hong Kiang, the general manager of Plant, Petrochemical Corp of Singapore, and Dr Peter Nagler, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s chief innovation officer. 

The group will determine the causes and circumstances of the accident, recommend ways to prevent such accidents, consider evidence presented by the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ State Counsel, submit a report of its findings and recommendations, and decide whether criminal prosecution is necessary. 

Other parties involved in the investigation include the Ministry of Manpower’s forensic officers, the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the police.

Part of the investigations will include interviewing the injured victims, Mr Zaqy said.

“We understand that we are working under different conditions in this COVID-19 pandemic. But it does not necessarily give anyone the excuse to compromise the safety of our workers,” Mr Zaqy said, noting that there were 11 workplace fatalities in February alone.

“We need to also think about the risk assessments, the changes in conditions, and making sure that every worker who is deployed today is actually trained,” he added.

READ: Tuas explosion: Workers who died from injuries in fire were breadwinners

A fundraising campaign launched by migrant worker advocacy group ItsRainingRaincoats raised more than S$600,000 for the three men killed in the incident, exceeding its goal of S$300,000. The campaign ended on Mar 3. 

Source: CNA/kg(cy)

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