A tower crane accident left two construction workers dead, Monday 30 September 2013. Bangladeshi Ronju Ahmmed, 28, and an unnamed Thai national lost their lives when the crane crumpled down. It had been lifting an excavator when the accident happened. Concrete blocks making up its counterweight fell onto the worksite. The Straits Times reported (1 October 2013) that one man was killed by the falling counterweights while the other was pinned by the crane’s hook assembly as it swung down.

crane_collapse_natl_art_gallery1Four other workers were injured. The two with head injuries were rushed to Singapore General Hospital where one remained in intensive care overnight. The other, Imran Hasan Ahsan Ullah, 24, received surgery. He also had a fracture in his neck. The third injured worker was sent to Raffles Hospital where he remained under observation Monday night, while the fourth was soon discharged.

The Ministry of Manpower has placed a stop-work order on the site pending investigations. Initial speculation centred on the possibility of the tension cables snapping, since the weight of the excavator was reportedly within the crane’s lifting capacity.

Main contractor Takenaka-Singapore Piling Joint Venture is converting the former City Hall and Supreme Court Buildings into the proposed National Art Gallery. It is not known whether the victims were employees of Takenaka or its subcontractors.

The National Art Gallery site had a previous crane accident only two months earlier, on Thursday, 25 July 2013. In that incident, in which no one was hurt, part of a crawler crane, called the crane jib, snapped and landed on adjacent Coleman Street.

The Straits Times (‘Mighty snap’ as crane boom collapses, 1 October 2013) added that

Out of 26 fatalities in the construction sector last year, five came as a result of crane accidents. Including yesterday’s incident, there have been at least 15 deaths this year.

It is not clear whether the “15 deaths” referred only to crane accidents or the total number of fatalities in the construction sector. However, a recent article by Mindy Tan in Business Times (SCAL lobbies for safety works recognition, 28 September 2013) noted that

In the first six months of this year, there were 25 workplace fatal injuries nationwide. The construction sector was the biggest contributor — the sector accounted for 11 deaths in the first half of this year, up from nine previously.

This is the third accident in which construction workers have died in just over a week, says TWC2 past-president John Gee.

On Sunday, 22 September 2013, a 36-year old Indian worker was killed while felling a tree. Jayaraman Gunasekaran was employed by Meng Guan Landscape & Construction; the main contractor on the Thompson Road site was Samsung C & T.

On 26 September, a 20-year old Bangladeshi fell 20 floors to his death at the Silversea condo construction site along Amber Road. He was employed by Jinyue Glass, subcontractor to the main contractor, China Construction (South Pacific) Development Co. Following this accident, MOM stopped work at the condominium site. According to Channel NewsAsia (Bangladeshi worker dies after falling 20 storeys, 26 September 2013), preliminary investigations indicated that the deceased — who has not been named in press reports — had been doing work on a balcony just before he fell.