Company fined $190,000 after worker dies while cutting tree
A cleaning company was fined $190,000 yesterday after one of its workers died while cutting a tree.
On Aug 27 this year, four years to the day of the fatal accident, Sin Eng Cleaning Services pleaded guilty to one count of failing to fulfil its duty to ensure the safety and health of its employees at work.
The court was told that on Aug 27, 2015, Mr Chinniah Ganeshan, a foreign worker, died while he was cutting an Albizia tree on a vacant plot of state land behind 62 Kheam Hock Road in Bukit Timah.
The New Paper reported at the time that Mr Ganeshan was a 45-year-old Indian national who had been working in Singapore for six years.
According to court documents, he held a valid work pass employed by Ho Eng Huat Construction, but Sin Eng Cleaning Services was the de facto employer as he was sent to work for it pursuant to an agreement between the two companies.
Sin Eng Cleaning Services, a landscaping company, was hired to cut down six trees at the site.
On the day of the incident, five of the six trees had already been cut down when Mr Ganeshan climbed more than 20m above ground to begin work on the final tree.
At about 2pm, a section of the tree he had cut off with a chainsaw struck him and he fell. He remained suspended by his harness and lanyard about 23m above the ground.
It took an hour to get him down and he was pronounced dead on-site at about 4.20pm.
Mr Ganeshan died from chest and neck injuries, which were determined to have killed him quickly.
The court was told Sin Eng Cleaning Services had failed to conduct an adequate risk assessment prior to the tree-cutting work and there were no control measures to ensure the safety of workers.
The company also did not establish any safe work procedures for tree pruning and tree cutting. It also failed to implement appropriate emergency rescue procedures, which delayed the rescue.
District Judge Adam Nakhoda allowed Sing Eng Cleaning Services to pay the $190,000 fine through instalments from Oct 3.