A German engineering firm in Singapore has been fined $200,000 after a worker was fatally electrocuted while doing tests and calibrations on a machine.
MW Group was convicted for lapses in workplace safety and health after a five-day trial.
The firm had failed to conduct a proper risk assessment and establish safe work procedures for the calibration and testing of an Arc Reflection System machine before the incident, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a press release on 19 January 2018.
Technician Suyambu Suman was instructed to test and calibrate the machine at Pantech Business Hub on 7 November 2013. He held a high voltage probe to test the machine from 2 kilovolts to 12 kilovolts. He subsequently fell backwards and was found unconscious. He died later that day.
The ministry said the cause of his death was consistent with electrocution.
Investigations by the Energy Market Authority concluded that there were no proper test fixtures before the high voltage calibration works. Additionally, a safe working distance of 1.5 metres was not maintained between the worker and the “live” terminals.
“The employer knew that the technicians were exposed to the risk of electrocution and yet failed to provide the technicians with a step-by-step guide on how to do the job safely. It is the employer’s duty to ensure no works are carried out without appropriate safeguards. In this case, special test fixtures are needed to protect the employees from the risk of electrocution. The MOM will take companies that disregard workers’ safety to task,” said Chan Yew Kong, the MOM director for Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate.