Jurong Shipyard, a subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine, was fined on 4 January 2018 for failing to ensure a cherry picker – an aerial platform used to access work areas at height – was properly maintained.
This failure led to the deaths of two workers who fell 30 metres when the cherry picker they were on suddenly buckled and collapsed onto the floor of the dock on 29 October 2011.
For their negligence, the company was fined $230,000.
In 2011, Jurong Shipyard was engaged to perform repair works on a ship, which was docked within its shipyard at 29 Tanjong Kling Road.
Both deceased workers, who were doing grit blasting work on the docked vessel, were in the same cherry picker when it collapsed.
Investigations by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) found that the second of the cherry picker’s four-boom sections had significant material wear and tear. The boom plate thickness was measured to be 2.86mm – 3.14 mm thinner than the original thickness of 6.00mm.
According to the manufacturer’s guidelines, the affected boom had to be replaced under such circumstances.
However, Jurong Shipyard did not refer to the manufacturer’s inspection guidelines prior to the incident. Instead, the company referred to the American Bureau of Shipping’s (ABS) rules for survey after construction, which is meant for conventional vessels and not for lifting equipment. As a result, Jurong Shipyard did not replace the second boom section.
MOM’s Director of Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate Chan Yew Kwong said: “Jurong Shipyard failed to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safe use of its equipment. It should have referred to the manufacturer’s inspection guidelines to check for corrosion and cracks and conduct thorough equipment checks to ensure the safety of its workers. Two workers lost their lives as a result of poor equipment maintenance. The MOM will prosecute owners of equipment who fail to provide for its safe use, putting workers’ lives at risk.”