Landscaping worker dies while hoisting tree trunk in 43rd workplace fatality this year

SINGAPORE – A Bangladeshi worker died on Wednesday after a tree trunk that was being hoisted to be loaded into a truck became dislodged, hitting him and causing the man to fall and hit his head against the pavement.

The 28-year-old man’s death takes the total number of workplace fatalities recorded in 2022 to 43 – the highest number since 2017, when there were 42 workplace deaths.

In comparison, there were 37 work-related deaths in 2021, 30 in 2020, and 39 in 2019.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday that the latest fatal accident took place in Toa Payoh East Road, near 1003 Toa Payoh Industrial Park, at about 3.30pm on Wednesday.

The Bangladeshi worker employed by Penta Landscape was involved in the loading of tree trunks after tree pruning works were conducted there.

The lifting operations were carried out using a lorry crane, and as one of the tree trunks was being hoisted, it slipped from the lifting sling and hit the worker, MOM said.

The man was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

MOM is investigating the accident and has ordered Penta Landscape to stop all tree pruning and lifting activities.

The ministry said that as a general safety measure, all loads must be properly rigged and secured by a competent rigger before lifting operations are conducted by mobile cranes.

The latest worker death comes after MOM had earlier put in place tougher sanctions to curb a recent rise in workplace deaths.

Composition fines for offenses observed during safety inspections were doubled in June, and companies have been made to engage external auditors to review their management systems if they have been issued stop-work orders or have had workers who suffered major injuries while on the job.

Under a six-month heightened safety period from Sept 1, 2022 to Feb 28, 2023, that was also instituted by MOM, companies will be barred from hiring new foreign workers for up to three months if severe lapses are found following a serious or fatal workplace accident.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad previously said that the heightened safety period had shown promising results, with the average number of workplace deaths each month in 2022 having dipped from about 4½ to two since Sept 1.

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