Cargo lift in woman’s death had not been tested
State Coroner says it was not compliant with regulations
A woman died from a severe head injury last year in an accident involving a lift-like hoist structure that the state coroner found had not been tested by an authorised examiner.
Made up of a cage lifted by an electric chain hoist, the system was used to move items between a storage area on the mezzanine level and a food packaging area on the first storey of a building in Admiralty.
It was not compliant with Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations, said State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam last Friday in an inquiry into Madam Zarimah Mohamad's death.
She noted that every hoistway used in a workplace must be protected by a "substantial enclosure fitted with gates".
When shut, such gates would "prevent any person from falling down the hoistway or coming into contact with any moving part of the hoist", the coroner said, ruling the death as an "industrial misadventure".
The incident occurred at catering company Thyme Food and Services at FoodXchange@Admiralty on June 25 last year.
Madam Zarimah, a 57-year-old accountant, had accompanied a colleague, Ms Chan Sook Chun, to the hoist system - also referred to as a cargo lift - at the Admiralty Street workplace to remove several items.
Afterwards, they found the cargo lift was stuck. Ms Chan stomped on the lift in a bid to get it to move.
It did not move at first but then abruptly dropped, with the women still inside.
Ms Kamala ruled that Madam Zarimah was killed after she fell and her head got caught between the frame of the cage and the lift landing.
Thyme account director Hee Kok Hwa had said the hoist was already present when he leased the premises and that it was meant only for cargo use.
Ms Kamala said the company had not established safe work procedures for the operation of the hoist system.
"Following this incident, MOM (the Ministry of Manpower) has issued an industry-wide advisory to alert to the hazards of an uncertified hoist system and the lack of appropriate maintenance. The need for specific risk assessment was also highlighted," she said.
Thyme has since removed the cargo lift with the hoist system and sealed up the shaft. It has also relocated its storage facilities to the ground level.