CapitaLand Retail Management fined over safety lapses after man’s fatal fall at Tampines Mall
CapitaLand Retail Management (CRM) was fined $24,000 on Tuesday over safety lapses after a foreign worker fell through a false ceiling at Tampines Mall in January 2020 and died in hospital.
The 26-year-old Indian national fell from the fifth storey to the third while cleaning a room not accessible to the public.
Among other findings, investigations revealed that the area where he had worked was not bright enough, which would have resulted in poor visibility.
CRM had also failed to provide effective guardrails in the area to prevent falls.
The company, which runs the shopping centre in Tampines Central 5, was convicted on Tuesday of one count each of an offence under the Workplace Safety and Health (Work at Heights) Regulations and Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations.
Ministry of Manpower (MOM) prosecutor Nur Ishameena Mohamed Noor said that CRM had awarded a contract to a company called Cleaning Express to provide cleaning services at Tampines Mall from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2020.
The scope of its services included an annual cleaning of some aluminium louvres located in the centre of a room on the fifth storey of Tampines Mall. The louvres are a conduit for the mall’s air-conditioner system.
The foreign worker, who was not named in court documents, was employed by Cleaning Express and was part of a team assigned to clean the room at around 11pm on Jan 24, 2020.
A concrete walkway lined the perimeter of the room. A catwalk by the side of the louvres connected to the concrete walkway at one end of the room.
The foreign worker used a broom and dustpan to sweep the concrete walkway. At around 1.10am on Jan 25, 2020, his team mates heard a breaking sound and one of them then saw a hole where the man was last seen.
It turned out that he had fallen through the false ceiling and landed on the third storey of Tampines Mall.
He was rushed to Changi General Hospital and died of multiple injuries at around 3.30am.
The prosecutor told the court that CRM had a duty to ensure that the vertical distance between any work platform and the guardrail immediately above it did not exceed 60cm.
Investigations revealed that the guardrail along the concrete walkway in the room was 1m high with no mid-rails.
This then left an open side of about 1m by 80cm between the vertical bars of the guardrail though which a person could fall.
The prosecutor also said that the recommended illuminance for circulation areas and corridors in general building areas is 100 lux.
There were 15 32-watt fluorescent lights installed in the area. However, the illuminance under a light closest to where the worker had fallen was 27 lux. The illuminance where he fell was only 2 lux.
Ms Nur added that the luminance level of 2 to 27 lux would have resulted in poor visibility for persons at work, such as the cleaning team, when accessing the affected areas.