Firm loses appeal over worker's death in gate accident, fine raised

An engineering company that appealed against its conviction and sentence over a fatal workplace accident had its fine increased instead.

On Sept 2, 2014, five workers from Sterling Engineering were installing a steel sliding gate at a Bartley Road worksite when the 1,500kg frame toppled, killing a 41-year-old Bangladeshi worker.

The Straits Times reported at the time that the worker was known to friends as Khorim.

Last July, Sterling Engineering was fined $280,000 under the Workplace Safety and Health Act for failing to "take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of its employees".

But the company appealed against the ruling on the grounds that the design of the gate - which it asserted was the main cause of the accident - was not under its control.

The prosecution also filed an appeal to increase the fine.

Both appeals were presented before Justice Aedit Abdullah on April 9.

The judge maintained that it is the company's responsibility, as supplier and installer, to ensure safety at the workplace.

While Sterling Engineering might not have been able to do anything about the design of the gate, it ultimately failed to meet the standards necessary for risk assessment and safety measures during the installation, said the judge.

The High Court dismissed the company's appeal and increased its fine to $330,000, the Ministry of Manpower said yesterday.