Employer fined, supervisor jailed after man left paralysed
A worker was left permanently paralysed and wheelchair-bound because his employer and supervisor failed to follow safety protocol.
AVA Global, a construction company, was yesterday fined $210,000 for committing breaches as an employer under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.
The supervisor, Sarkar Mithun, who was a construction foreman, was jailed nine weeks for negligence under the Act.
The company was sub-contracted by Ken-Pal in 2016 to carry out works on a building belonging to the National University of Singapore.
It appointed Sarkar to supervise the works, but did not give him instructions.
He decided on the method to carry out the works, basing it on his own observations of how another company did it.
On Sept 14 that year, under Sarkar's supervision, the worker, Mr Miah Jobayed, fell 5.5m through the ceiling while carrying out the works, injuring his spinal cord.
Despite undergoing surgery, he was left permanently paralysed and wheelchair-bound.
Investigations by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) found that Sarkar did not obtain a permit to carry out the works. He also failed to ensure workers wore safety harnesses and helmets.
Mr Sebastian Tan, director of MOM's Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate, said in a statement yesterday the incident was preventable.
"In this instance, there was no culture of care and trust evident at the worksite," he said.
"As a result, a worker is now wheelchair-bound for life."
Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad also posted on Facebook last week that six of the nine workplace fatalities since the start of this year were construction-related.
He added the first quarter of this year also recorded the highest quarterly number of construction fatalities since the fourth quarter of 2017.
"Construction, besides being a high risk industry, is also one where multi-tier sub-contracting is common," he said.
"Not surprisingly, of the six construction fatalities, five were from sub-contractors or small and medium-sized enterprises.
"These accidents were all preventable if proper safety measures were in place."