Singapore

Refuse attendant's death ruled an 'unfortunate industrial misadventure'

A Malaysian refuse attendant's proclivity to salvage discarded items from the rubbish dump to sell led to his death, a coroner's court heard on Friday (June 30).

Mr Mohammad Faizal Ya'cob's body was found in a refuse truck's rear compartment at the Centralised Rubbish Chute (CRC) of Block 28 Ghim Moh Link on Jan 27 this year.

At an inquest into the 30-year-old's death, the court heard that the Veolia Environmental Services worker was helping colleague Zin Ramlan at the Ghim Moh Link to collect rubbish from the CRC of the blocks nearby at about 2.45pm that day.

Mr Zin had activated the packer mechanism from his driver's seat while Mr Faizal activated the mechanism of the CRC by first depressing the appropriate buttons at the side of the truck, and then the buttons at the CRC.

Mr Zin remained at the driver's seat while Mr Faizal was at the back of the truck to oversee the process of rubbish being moved from the CRC to the refuse truck.

But when the process took longer than usual, Mr Zin checked his rear view camera and could not see Mr Faizal.

So he alighted from the truck and went to the back to look for his colleague. He then shut off the CRC mechanism, and the refuse truck's packer system.

When he looked into the refuse truck's rear compartment, he was alarmed to see Mr Faizal's leg and body covered in rubbish. He raised the alarm and called his supervisor. Police were also alerted.

Mr Faizal died from multiple injuries at 4.08pm that day.

Mr Zin told investigators that Mr Faizal had a habit of fishing out items while offloading rubbish. He had found items such as shoes and a windbreaker in the refuse truck, which he believed to have been fished out earlier by Mr Faizal.

Mr Faizal would sell items he picked up in Malaysia.

In his findings, State Coroner Marvin Bay said forensic and circumstantial evidence showed it was likely that Mr Faizal had fallen into the rear compartment of the refuse truck while fishing out items.

The assessment is supported by the assortment of discarded items found on the truck, which had apparently been retrieved earlier by the deceased.

Coroner Bay said his demise is an "unfortunate industrial misadventure".

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