Worker dies after exposure to toxic gas on Jurong Island
He was exposed to hydrogen sulfide while performing maintenance works at Singapore Refining Company
A worker died after being exposed to toxic gas on Jurong Island, while two of his colleagues are still recovering more than two weeks after the incident.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that on Sept 17, two workers were preparing a pipeline for maintenance works at 1 Merlimau Road, the location of the Singapore Refining Company.
But at about 6pm, the workers were overcome by residual toxic gas in the pipe.
A third worker tried to rescue them, but was also overcome by the poisonous gas.
A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman said on Wednesday that they were alerted at about 6.10pm, and took the three workers, including one who was unconscious, to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
A spokesman for MOM told The New Paper that one of the workers, a 30-year-old Indian national, died from his injuries on Sept 22, after spending five days fighting for his life.
It is not known if he was one of the initial workers preparing the pipe, or the one who tried to save the others. The employer was identified by MOM as PEC, a plant and terminal engineering specialist provider.
Mr Bill Stone, chief executive and general manager of the Singapore Refining Company, confirmed the incident and said the three workers were contractors who were exposed to hydrogen sulfide while performing scheduled maintenance at the refinery.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries resulting from this incident," he said.
"The safety of our personnel and partners is our immediate priority while we fully cooperate with the relevant authorities in their investigation."
He added that the other two workers were recovering after receiving treatment.
Hydrogen sulfide is a poisonous gas that is colourless and described as having a foul odour similar to that of rotten eggs. It is commonly found in the production of crude oil and natural gas, and is flammable and volatile.
On Monday, the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council issued an alert on the incident, advising that risk assessments and control measures must be implemented before work is conducted to isolate pipelines.
Workers must also be given the appropriate personal protective equipment to protect them from hazardous gas and liquid releases.
The MOM spokesman said maintenance works at the site have been stopped, and investigations are ongoing.
The WSH Council and MOM revealed there were 16 workplace deaths in the first half of the year.
There were 17 deaths in the same period last year.
Workplace injuries had fallen by 25 per cent from January to June to 4,996, compared with 6,630 in the same period last year.
However, this was likely due to the suspension of selected workplace activities from April to June because of the pandemic.