Singapore

Firm fined $400k over oil rig incident

Jurong Shipyard penalised for safety breaches in 2012

Jurong Shipyard, a unit of Sembcorp Marine, was yesterday fined $400,000 over a 2012 incident in which an oil rig tilted, injuring 89 people.

The lives of 1,000 people on board the rig were put at risk in the incident, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday. This is the second time such a fine has been imposed for a breach of the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

Last year, SMRT Trains was fined $400,000 for a breach which resulted in the deaths of two trainees.

In the Dec 3, 2012 incident, said to be one of the worst industrial accidents in recent times, the rig, the Noble Regina Allen, suddenly tilted during testing of its jack-up system.

About 1,000 workers from various sub-contractors engaged by Jurong Shipyard had to evacuate through only one escape gangway, resulting in some workers jumping into the sea to escape.

In a separate incident a few weeks later, a worker helping to right the leaning rig slipped and fell.

Mr Teo Kok Kee, 50, who was taken to hospital, died of a heart attack. He was an employee of Belfor Asia, a disaster recovery and property restoration company that had been hired by Jurong Shipyard to perform recovery work on the rig.

MOM said its investigations revealed that the sudden tilt of the rig 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.

Jurong Shipyard also failed to take adequate safety measures for the testing of the jack-up system of the oil rig by not undertaking adequate risk assessment, not implementing control measures in safe-work procedures and not providing adequate means of escape.

Mr Chan Yew Kwong, MOM's director of occupational safety and health inspectorate, said: "The heavy fine reflected the very serious safety breaches by Jurong Shipyard that had put at risk the lives of so many workers."

He noted that 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.

District Judge Adam Nakhoda allowed the company, which has had 14 previous convictions since 2002, to pay the fine in a week's time.

 

MINISTRY OF MANPOWER (MOM)Workplace Accidentcourt