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Poh Tiong Choon Logistics fined over planning oversight linked to fatality

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Poh Tiong Choon Logistics has been fined S$190,000 for a workplace accident that resulted in the death of Tan Siau Tsing, an assistant manager of yard operations, who was responsible for the daily container yard operations at 21 Ayer Merbau Road. This is per a statement by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower.

Background

On 5 September 2015, Tan had checked an oil leak on a reach stacker after a stacker operator, Gunasekaran Gnanasekaran, informed Tan of the leak. Tan then instructed Gunasekaran to carry on with his job of stacking containers and headed back to the office.

However, Tan stopped approximately 4.5 metres from the back of the stacker to talk on his walkie-talkie. In the meantime, Gunasekaran boarded the stacker, checked both side mirrors, turned his head both ways but did not see the Deceased. He sounded the horn and proceeded to reverse the stacker.

As he was reversing the stacker, he noticed a slipper and blood trail in front of the stacker. Gunasekaran immediately stopped the stacker and alighted, and saw Tan pinned under the rear right side tyre. Tan was pronounced dead by attending paramedics. He died from multiple injuries consistent with having been crushed, run over, or possibly dragged by a heavy object or vehicle.

Issues

Investigations revealed that Poh Tiong Choon Logistics did not have an adequate workplace traffic management plan to address the management of traffic and operation of vehicles at the container yard to minimise risks and hazards.

Paths for workers were not demarcated between pedestrian and vehicular traffic. There was also no system for managing traffic in the yard. The company also did not provide sufficient safety measures, such as a banksman to guide reversing vehicles or installing rear cameras to provide a clear unobstructed view of heavy vehicles’ reversing paths.

Chan Yew Kwong, MOM’s director of occupational safety and health inspectorate said, “It is the duty of every company to properly manage the traffic and safe operation of vehicles and keep their workplace safe for all employees and visitors. This tragic incident could have been prevented if the employer had clearly marked out pathways to segregate vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and provided safety signages at the container yard to alert both drivers and pedestrians.”

Photo / StockUnlimited

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