Rifle Range workplace death: Victim was to be married in Sept
Mr Ely Chow was going to get married in September 2023 and move in to his new Build-To-Order flat in Ghim Moh soon after.
But the 31-year-old was killed on Tuesday after he was struck and pinned down by a machine that toppled while being moved by a forklift at 601 Rifle Range Road. The site is near Upper Peirce Reservoir that is occupied by ST Engineering Advanced Material Engineering.
Speaking to The Straits Times at his wake at Ghim Moh on Thursday, his sister, Ms Ruth Chow, 33, said his future was taken from him in an instant.
The housewife said: “All this was robbed from him just like that. As much as you want to think ‘Okay, it was an accident’, but how much of an accident is an accident?”
Mr Ely Chow was employed by labour supply company RCM Resources.
Mr Ethan Chow, 28, said his brother started working for the firm as a general worker in June 2022, and was due to leave the part-time gig and start a new job in January 2023.
Mr Ely Chow, who was passionate about animals, had studied marine life and aquaculture at the University of Tasmania. He stayed on in Australia after graduating, working in abalone and fish farming for two years till his visa expired in 2019.
In Singapore, he worked in various jobs - a role with another fish farm and another with the National Parks Board - before working for RCM Resources.
Mr Ethan Chow, who had cut short a trip to Genting with his wife when he heard about the accident, said they were very close.
He said “Whenever I was troubled, I remember going to Starbucks and having a one-on-one conversation with him, anything under the sun and he would listen. He just had the appropriate advice to give me. I really miss him.”
Ms Chow said Mr Ely Chow lived in an HDB flat in Ghim Moh with their father, 69, a part-time technician, and their mother, a 62-year-old housewife.
Mr Ely Chow’s two siblings live in different units at the same block with their respective families and would gather several times a week at one of the units for home-cooked dinners.
Mr Ethan Chow said he and his brother had spent Christmas at a relative’s home and regrets forgetting to take photographs just days before the accident.
On Wednesday, the police said a 62-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by a negligent act. It is not clear what his role was in the accident, and police investigations are ongoing.
This was the 45th workplace death, so far, in 2022, the highest number recorded since 2016, when 66 people died.
Ms Chow said her family hopes the authorities can investigate workplace fatalities thoroughly, with the number of such incidents this year pointing to gaps in areas that may not be adequately addressed.
She added that more than just dealing with negligence or enhance supervisory roles, she suggested it may be time to admit there is a lack of a safety culture here. She also called for greater support to be provided to the families of such victims.
She added: “As Christians, we can accept that accidents happen. But at the back of our minds it’s like, ‘why did this happen?’
“We want to know why this accident couldn’t be prevented. Every time we read in the news, there are so many fatalities. In a blink of an eye, things happen when you’re not careful.
“So, we want to try to make everyone more aware of the seriousness of workplace safety.”
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