Chinese worker killed in Singapore highway collapse

A 31-year-old Chinese construction worker has died and 10 other foreign workers were injured after a raised highway under construction in Singapore collapsed in the early hours of Friday, 14 July.

Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said it had revoked the permit for work at the Upper Changi Road East site, where a new road viaduct from the Tampines Expressway to the Pan Island Expressway is being built.

The area was cordoned off and adjacent girders were propped and supported as a safety precaution.

BCA said "a support structure (girder) and platform (deck slab) for one portion of the viaduct collapsed during concreting works", news site Today reported.

In an earlier statement the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said preliminary investigations showed that "corbels supporting the pre-cast beams had given way". Corbels are structural elements jutting from a wall to help support heavy items.

The LTA said the local contractor, Or Kim Peow (OKP) Contractors, was "carrying out works to cast the decking" for the new viaduct when a section between two piers collapsed.

According to tender documents OKP won the work after bidding substantially lower than rivals. Its bid of S$94.6m was 31% lower than the next lowest bid of S$129.7m by Yongnam Engineering, reported newspaper The Straits Times, and almost half the third lowest bid of S$185m.

After the collapse the LTA ordered a "safety timeout" for all road and rail construction sites to review safety while further investigations with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) got underway.

The incident happened shortly after at 3.30am.

Eleven workers, from China, India, and Bangladesh, were working on top of the structure during the accident. The injured workers were taken to hospital.

A hospital spokesperson said seven of the injured workers had to be admitted, while three others were discharged after receiving treatment. Two were receiving intensive care.

Today reported that OKP Contractors had earlier in the week been convicted and fined for separate workplace safety lapses and the death of a worker in 2015.

In that incident, four workers fell 6.4m to the ground when the section of the working platform they were standing on under Yio Chu Kang Flyover dislodged. One worker died and the remaining three suffered fractures and contusions.

The Upper Changi Road East project was expected to be completed in November 2019.

Image: The under-construction elevated highway in Singapore collapsed on 14 July, 2017 killing a foreign labourer and injuring 10 others (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

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