Singapore PM Calls for Strict Safety Measures After Fatal Construction Accident

Singapore PM calls for strict safety measures in construction after fatal crane accident, highlighting the need to prioritize worker and public safety as the city-state develops new infrastructure.

Waqas Arain
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Singapore PM Calls for Strict Safety Measures After Fatal Construction Accident

Singapore PM Calls for Strict Safety Measures After Fatal Construction Accident

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has called for strict safety measures to be implemented in the construction industry following a fatal accident at a construction site on April 23, 2024. The incident occurred when a crane fell and crushed a van along Punggol Road, resulting in one person being taken to the hospital. The crane operator, a 49-year-old man, was arrested for negligent conduct.

The construction site where the accident took place was operated by contractor Building Construction Co, which was constructing a public sewer for PUB, Singapore's national water agency. Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud crash and seeing the van driver crawling out to the opposite side of the road. The van was used to ferry children to and from school, and fortunately, a child had been dropped off just before the accident occurred. The crane was being loaded onto a trailer truck when it fell, and there was no one in the crane cabin at the time.

In response to the incident, PM Lee emphasized the importance of safety and efficiency in construction projects, particularly in the selection and use of construction hoists. He stressed that key considerations should include capacity and load requirements, hoist type (personnel vs. material), safety features, and regular maintenance. The Prime Minister highlighted the need to prioritize safety features such as overload protection, emergency controls, and interlocks to create a safer work environment and comply with Singapore's workplace safety and health regulations.

Why this matters: The fatal construction accident has raised concerns about safety standards in Singapore's construction industry. As the city-state continues to develop and build new infrastructure projects, ensuring the safety of workers and the public is of utmost importance. The Prime Minister's call for strict safety measures underscores the government's commitment to preventing similar tragedies in the future.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore has also introduced new guidelines to reduce the risks of heat stress for outdoor workers, which is a common issue in the construction industry. Under the guidelines, employers of outdoor workers must provide a 10-minute break for every hour when the temperature exceeds 32°C. The measures focus on four aspects: acclimatization, drinking, rest, and shade. MOM will conduct inspections to ensure the measures are implemented to protect workers, particularly those performing manual work outdoors, from the increased risks of heat stress due to a warmer climate.

Following the fatal accident, PM Lee reiterated the government's commitment to enforcing strict safety standards in the construction industry. He stated, "We must ensure that all construction sites in Singapore prioritize the safety and well-being of workers and the public. This tragic incident serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of implementing and adhering to robust safety measures. We will work closely with industry stakeholders to review and strengthen existing regulations to prevent such accidents from happening again."

Key Takeaways

  • Fatal crane accident in Singapore, 1 person hospitalized, crane operator arrested.
  • PM Lee calls for strict safety measures in construction, focus on hoist selection.
  • New MOM guidelines to reduce heat stress risks for outdoor construction workers.
  • Government committed to enforcing strict safety standards in construction industry.
  • Accident highlights need to prioritize worker and public safety in construction projects.