In a shocking incident, a 34-year-old worker, Sun Zaitao, lost his life due to a work-related misadventure at the premises of AMB Packaging, a paper and cardboard manufacturing company, on 11 February last year, where his head was crushed by a machine and causing his death, ac cording to Channel NewsAsia.
State coroner Adam Nakhoda delivered his findings into Sun’s death this week.
Mr. Sun, a production fitter, was specifically trained to operate the Tai Yi TGF High Speed Flexo Printer Slotter Rotary Die-Cutter Inline with Folder Gluer machine. This machine, purchased in May 2019, played a central role in processing corrugated cardboard into customized cartons.
On the fateful day, Mr. Sun extended his upper body into the machine’s window while it was in operation. The coroner suggested that he was attempting to clear cardboard waste, leading to his head being caught by the machine’s moving parts, resulting in his tragic death.
Mr. Sun’s Role and Training
As a production fitter, Mr. Sun had the responsibility of operating the Tai Yi TGF machine, a task he had been performing since November 2021.
The Tai Yi TGF machine, spanning several meters, consisted of six machinery components. Notably, it had a viewing window at the bundle stacker portion, equipped with an interlocking guard.
The interlocking guard, a crucial safety feature, was designed to cut the electrical supply to the machine if the window was opened during operation. This was intended to prevent accidents by stopping the machine.
Closed-circuit television footage revealed Mr. Sun and a supervisor engaging in unsafe practices multiple times, extending their bodies into the window to clear waste.
After Mr. Sun’s death, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) discovered that the interlocking guard had been tampered with, allowing continuous machine operation by bypassing the guard.
In response to the incident, the Workplace Health and Safety Council (WSH Council) issued an alert, emphasizing the importance of risk control measures to prevent similar occurrences.
X. Post-Incident Actions
Following the tragedy, a stop work order was issued, and the interlocking guard was reinstalled by the company to ensure its functionality.
Despite the tragedy, Mr. Sun’s brother did not raise any issues or concerns, intending to engage a lawyer in Singapore to manage the legal aspects of the incident.
State Coroner Nakhoda ruled the incident as an avoidable accident. The machine’s safety feature could have prevented Mr. Sun’s death if the interlocking guard had not been bypassed.