Second worker, a Malaysian, dies after inhaling toxic fumes at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks


Three workers were found unconscious at PUB’s Choa Chu Kang Waterworks on May 23. -LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE: A second worker died on Tuesday (May 28) after inhaling poisonous fumes while carrying out routine tank cleaning at PUB’s Choa Chu Kang Waterworks.

In a statement on May 29, national water agency PUB said the 24-year-old Malaysian, who was in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, died at about 10pm on May 28.

“PUB would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the worker,” PUB said.

“Together with our contractor, we are doing everything possible to support his family during this difficult period.”

The worker, Izzat Naqiuddin Dowod, had been working for PUB contractor Stargroup Est since November 2021.

Managing director Desmond Lim said the company paid for the hotel accommodation and living expenses of Izzat’s father so he could visit his son, who was hospitalised in the ICU.

On May 23, three workers were found unconscious at the plant at about 11.15am.

Srinivasan Sivaraman, a 40-year-old Indian national, died at the hospital on the same day.

They were found to have collapsed due to the inhalation of hydrogen sulphide gas while draining sludge from one of the plant’s pulsator tanks, said PUB.

The remaining worker, a 39-year-old Malaysian, was moved out of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital’s ICU on May 28. His condition is currently stable.

Both he and Sivaraman were employed by Supersonic Maintenance Services.

PUB said it is reviewing safety protocols, especially those involving work in confined spaces where there is risk of exposure to toxic gases and chemicals.

The agency has also been reinforcing the importance of following safety procedures to employees and contract workers, it added.

“We have been progressively lifting the safety timeout at worksites and plants where we are satisfied that the necessary and appropriate measures are in place,” PUB said.

“PUB is cooperating fully with the Ministry of Manpower on its investigation and is conducting a safety investigation of our own,” said the agency.

“We would like to seek the public’s understanding that we are unable to provide further information on the incident at this juncture.”

The wife and children of Sivaraman were in Singapore for a holiday when he died on May 23, reported newspaper Tamil Murasu on May 28.

Mohan Naveenkumar, the deceased’s brother-in-law, said Sivaraman had planned to visit Gardens by the Bay with his family after work on the day of the incident.

After receiving news of his death, the family returned to their home town in Tamil Nadu on May 24. His daughters, aged seven and nine, have since been asking for their father.

“We are at a loss as to how to break the news to the children, that their beloved father will never return home,” Naveenkumar, 33, told Tamil Murasu.

Sivaraman’s body returned to India on May 28, after some family, friends and colleagues in Singapore paid their final respects on May 26. - The Straits Times/ANN

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