Paralysed Bangladeshi worker gets $971,000 compensation
It has been four and a half years since the incident and a Bangladeshi worker who was paralysed from the neck down after a 3.7m-high fall at a worksite in 2018 has been awarded $971,000 in damages from Westgate Tower’s subsidiary management corporation (MCST).
Mr Janaed, who goes by one name and is now 47, suffered spinal injuries while inspecting an overhead chiller in the mechanical and electrical room at Westgate Tower in Jurong East on Nov 8, 2018.
His formal employer, Newtec Engineering, is facing charges in court for not having the required insurance for him and failing to pay his medical bills.
Part of the agreed-upon compensation will go towards paying $149,281.20 to the National University Hospital (NUH) and $58,081.09 to Alexandra Hospital, as stated in a court judgment dated Feb 10.
Mr Janaed, who is now in Bangladesh, spent 91 days at NUH and 152 days at Alexandra Hospital after his accident.
He had been engaged by STA Rita Engineering Services, an air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation services company, for the work.
He used a fireman’s ladder to climb to the top of a chiller in the mechanical and electrical room. While standing on top of the chiller, he used his mobile phone to take photos of one of the switches.
He held his phone in one hand and used his other hand to zoom in for a close-up of the flow switch before he fell.
There were no guard-rails at the top of the chiller and Mr Janaed did not use any safety harness or belt.
Represented by Hoh Law Corporation lawyer N. Srinivasan, he sued four parties in the High Court for negligence. They are Newtec Engineering; Mr Felizardo Paras Jose, Mr Janaed’s de facto employer and owner of STA Rita Engineering Services; the MCST responsible for the maintenance of Westgate Tower; and the main contractor hired to do air-conditioning and ventilation works for Westgate Tower, Zoe International.
Zoe International subcontracted part or all of its work to STA Rita Engineering Services.
The Court of Appeal in June 2022 dismissed the appeal by the MCST, represented by lawyers Michael Eu and Alicia Chia, over its joint 70 per cent liability with subcontractor STA Rita Engineering Services for the negligence that caused the mishap.
Mr Janaed, who also appealed, failed to reduce the High Court’s finding in August 2021 that he was 30 per cent to blame for the incident.
A separate lawsuit filed by his brother Jahid, 43, is ongoing.
Mr Jahid, who is also in Bangladesh, sustained leg injuries after he fell more than 3m while doing air-conditioning maintenance work at a Starbucks outlet in United Square mall on April 7, 2018.
He is also represented by lawyer N. Srinivasan and sued Mr Jose, Zoe International, Starbucks Coffee Singapore and UOL Property Investments in October 2019.
A district court in July 2022 found all four defendants 70 per cent liable for negligence and Mr Jahid 30 per cent liable.
The amount of damages will be decided at a later date.
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