A 42-year-old Singaporean was sentenced to four months' imprisonment, after pleading guilty to one charge of committing a negligent act, which resulted in the death of a fellow worker.
According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Muhammed Noredzuan Bin Othman was tasked by his employer, Enermech Pte Ltd, to conduct Nitrogen-Helium leak tests on a number of pipelines, including the one that was involved in the accident.
During the test, Noredzuan would pressurise the piping system based on set test boundaries, and it was his job to walk through the piping system before the test, in order to verify the test boundaries and valve positions, in accordance with a checklist and a Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID).
This process was known as a line walk.
However, investigations reveal that during the commissioning test-run on Dec. 31, 2015, Noredzuan did not conduct the line walk to verify that the test boundaries and valve positions were in accordance with the checklist or P&ID.
Instead, he endorsed the checklist and proceeded with the next test.
As a result, one of the valves was not in the correct position, and pressurised gas was trapped inside the pipeline.
On Jan. 1, 2016, a pipe fitter and welder, Chin Chee Cheng, and his co-worker were tasked with repairing the a leaking pipe joint along the pipeline in question.
While Chin was removing a clamp connector from the pipe joint, the clamp connector dislodged and struck him.
He suffered blunt force head and pelvic injuries, and was conveyed to the hospital.
Chin succumbed to his injuries on the same day.
Incident could have been avoided
Further investigations revealed that the accident was caused by the sudden discharge of trapped residual pressurised gas, which ejected the clamp connector with great force.
According to MOM, by failing to conduct the line walk, Noredzuan's negligence endangered the safety of his co-workers, and ultimately led to the death of Chin.
Sebastian Tan, MOM's Director of Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate, said that the incident could have been avoided if safe work procedures were conducted properly, and that it was Noredzuan's responsibility as a field supervisor to ensure such procedures were followed.
"MOM will continue to seek penalties against those who fail to implement proper safety measures. We urge employers and employees to learn from this case. We must continue to stay vigilant and implement proper safety measures to protect our workers from harm," said Tan.
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