Singapore

MOM stops cleaning work at Republic Plaza after gondola incident

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has suspended all cleaning work for the facade of Republic Plaza in Raffles Place after four workers were spotted swinging precariously in a gondola on Jan 9.

In a statement yesterday, the ministry also said that it is investigating the incident.

A spokesman for Republic Plaza Building Management told The Straits Times yesterday that four workers from its appointed cleaning contractor were in a gondola to clean the building's external facade when "unexpected strong winds" caused the gondola to sway while ascending from level 50 to the rooftop.

"Due to weather conditions, this can occur from time to time," its spokesman said.

Once the management was notified of the situation, the external cleaning works were stopped as "workers' safety is our top priority", he said.

The gondola had been certified safe to operate and the workers were also trained and certified to perform facade cleaning at height.

In addition, they were equipped with personal protective equipment, he added.

There were no injuries.

Witnesses told citizen journalism website Stomp on Monday that there were four men in the gondola 58 storeys high at 2.30pm, when the gondola slammed into a window a few times.

Videos show the workers repeatedly looking upwards as the gondola sways. They are also seen holding on to the sides of the gondola. As the gondola approaches the window, one worker is seen pushing his hand against the building facade.

Republic Plaza, which is owned by City Developments, is 280m high and has 66 storeys.

CONSUMER ISSUES