Technician dies after being trapped in lift shaft during repair works in North Bridge Rd, Singapore


SINGAPORE, Feb 28 (The Straits Times/ANN): A 29-year-old lift technician died on Saturday (Feb 27) after he got trapped in a lift shaft at a building in North Bridge Road while carrying out repair works.

The fatal accident occurred at 450 North Bridge Road.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the police told The Straits Times they were alerted at about 11.30am.

The Bangladeshi worker was found trapped in a narrow gap between a lift carriage that was between the second and third storeys of the building and the metal support structure of the lift.

Extricating the technician took about six hours, in what SCDF said was a highly complex and delicate operation.

It required officers from SCDF's elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team and other fire station personnel to operate a slew of rescue equipment within the confined space of the lift shaft.

Besides SCDF's emergency medical crew, an emergency medical team from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) was also on-site to provide medical assistance.

The lift technician was pronounced dead at the scene at about 5.30pm by the TTSH team.

The police are investigating the unnatural death.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the technician was conducting repair work on top of the lift car when it ascended and trapped him against the lift's guide rail structure.

The occupier of the site is Parkland Property Services and the man's employer is Decor Engineering. MOM is investigating the incident and has ordered all lift maintenance works at the site to stop.

A spokesman for Chan Brothers, which owns the building, said it was only made aware of the incident at about 1pm, when the rescue operation was in progress.

The travel agency's directors reached the scene shortly after.

The spokesman said the firm is still waiting for an official update from the relevant authorities, and investigation reports from Parkland Property Services, the building's managing agent, and lift contractor Thyssenkrupp Elevator Singapore.

"Chan Brothers Group of Companies would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased for the loss of a loved one," he added.

This is the 11th work-related fatality this month, making February the deadliest month with regards to workplace accidents since at least 2018.

In the whole of last year, there were 30 workplace deaths.

This latest fatality comes after a blast at an industrial building in Tuas on Wednesday killed three men and left five others in critical condition, sparking alarm among labour MPs and MOM officials.

It also prompted Manpower Minister Josephine Teo to convene an inquiry committee to look into the fatal fire.

The last time an inquiry was convened for a workplace accident was in 2004 to investigate the Nicoll Highway collapse that killed four people.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general Melvin Yong said he was deeply saddened to hear about yet another workplace fatality.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family," Mr Yong, who is also the MP for Radin Mas, wrote.

"Clearly we need to take decisive actions to improve workplace safety and we need to implement them sooner, not later, so that we can prevent more workplace fatalities from happening." - The Straits Times/ANN
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