Firm fined $400K over safety failures

by Nicola Middlemiss14 Nov 2017
A Singapore employer was handed a six-figure fine last week after an investigation uncovered multiple safety failures which put the lives of around 1,000 employees at risk.

The company – Jurong Shipyard – found itself at the centre of an investigation after an oil rig tilted suddenly during testing of the jack-up system.

The employees on board the oil rig, which was under construction at the time, attempted to evacuate but found there was only one escape gangway. As a result, many were forced to jump into the sea, a large number suffered injuries, and a total of 89 were taken to hospital for treatment.

The Ministry of Manpower’s Occupational Safety and Health Division later revealed that the sudden tilt was due to the forward leg motor not being able to hold the weight of the hull when the brakes were released. In addition, the jacking control system was not designed to be fail-safe.

Investigators agreed Jurong Shipyard had failed to take adequate safety measures for the testing of the jack-up system of the oil rig as it has not undertaken an adequate risk assessment, had not implemented control measures in safe work procedure and had not provided adequate means of egress and escape.

“As the principal contractor, Jurong Shipyard had the duty to plan, manage and monitor the construction of projects to ensure work was performed in a safe manner. This included emergency arrangements and procedures,” said Chan Yew Kwong, MOM’s director of Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate.

“The heavy fine reflected the very serious safety breaches by Jurong Shipyard that had put at risk the lives of 1,000 workers on board the oil rig at the time of the accident,” he explained.

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