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Woman fined $100k for death of worker

In Singapore a woman was fined $100,000 by a court in relation to the death of a worker who was electrocuted while replacing a roller shutter. The woman, Lee Ee Ten, was the employer of the deceased electrician, Mr Tong Baorong. Lee was the partner at Tan Kim Seng Roller Shutters, a company that repaired and replaced motors of roller shutters. She pleaded guilty to one count of failing to take measures necessary to ensure the safety and health of her employees at work, thereby causing Mr Tong's death.

In early November 2019, a construction company hired Tan Kim Seng to replace the motor of a roller shutter at the Tritech Building in 31 Changi South Avenue 2. Lee, who was in charge of her company's operations and safety and health matters, deployed a team comprising Mr Tong and two other workers to the site.

At about 9.30am, on Nov 7, 2019, they arrived at the building. Mr Tong climbed an aluminium ladder to turn off the isolator of the roller shutter's motor and began replacing the motor. Apparently as the metal frame of the motor was connected to the live terminal of the main electricity supply, the frame and all conductive materials including the aluminium ladder became live when Mr Tong turned on the isolator. He fell of the ladder instantly and landed face down on the ground. He was taken to hospital but died later that morning of electrocution with multiple injuries. Mr Tong did not open the isolator cover to check the wiring configuration and had assumed that the electricity supply from the isolator was single-phase when it was in fact three-phase. Lee failed to take several necessary measures. She did not properly conduct a risk assessment to identify the electrocution hazard and associated risks, nor to establish and implement safe work procedures to minimise and control the risks. Her risk assessments only identified the hazards of being struck by falling objects and falling from height. The assessment failed to identify the hazard of electrocution.

Safety measures should have included checking if the electricity supply was three-phase or single phase, wearing insulative protective equipment and maintaining a safe distance from energised parts. She did not ensure that her team had adequate instruction, information and training that was necessary for them to finish the job. None of the employees in the team had completed the required training course before erecting scaffolds and were untrained and unqualified, court documents stated.

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