Tuesday 13 April 2021
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todayonline - 2 month ago

Tuas industrial fire: Committee of Inquiry to examine factors that led to fatal accident

SINGAPORE — In the wake of a fire at a Tuas industrial unit that claimed the lives of three workers earlier this week, the authorities will appoint a Committee of Inquiry to examine the factors that led to the accident. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Saturday (Feb 27) that Manpower Minister Josephine Teo would appoint the committee under the Workplace Safety and Health Act to look into the factors that led to the fatal accident. The committee, to be headed by a district judge with two technical assessors, is expected to thoroughly study the factors that led to the fire and explosion. It will also put forth recommendations that will include policy, regulatory or workplace safety and health measures to prevent a repeat. Its proceedings will be held in open court. The Government will release more details about the committee next week. The last time the authorities convened an inquiry into a workplace accident was in 2004 to investigate the Nicoll Highway collapse at a Circle Line MRT worksite, which killed four workers. Five other workers remain in critical condition in the aftermath of the fire on Wednesday at the premises of Stars Engrg, which supplies fire protection systems, at 32E Tuas Avenue 11. The blaze was caused by the ignition of potato starch powder, which is combustible when dispersed in the air within a confined space. Two other workers from an opposite unit who received medical attention have been discharged. Since the start of this month, there have been 10 workplace fatalities in Singapore. Describing the Tuas fire as one of the most serious workplace incidents in recent years, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Manpower, said that MOM is taking the incident very seriously. While Singapore has made significant strides in reducing its fatal injury rate at workplaces over the years, the recent spate of workplace fatalities shows that the city-state must “never be complacent and maintain high safety standards”. “We cannot afford to let down our guard, because every life lost is a breadwinner and a loved one lost,” Mr Zaqy wrote on Facebook. “I strongly urge all our industry stakeholders to continue to pay close attention to workplace safety, as we restart our economy in a safe manner amid the pandemic.”


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