• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

SINGAPORE: Prosecutors are seeking a fine of S$1 million for a builder in charge of the construction of a viaduct that collapsed in 2017, killing a worker and injuring 10 others.

Apr 9, 2021

SINGAPORE: Prosecutors are seeking a fine of S$1 million for a builder in charge of the construction of a viaduct that collapsed in 2017, killing a worker and injuring 10 others.
Parties involved had known about repeated cracks in the structure’s corbels, or support structures, but did not stop casting works from being done in the early morning of Jul 14, 2017.
After hearing arguments from both sides for most of Friday (Apr 9), the judge adjourned his sentencing to a later date.
Or Kim Peow Contractors (OKP), a builder appointed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to construct the viaduct to link two expressways, was convicted in January this year of failing to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of workers casting a deck slab.
The prosecution on Friday sought the maximum fine for the company, saying that just three days before the collapse of the viaduct structure, OKP had been sentenced by a court for its role in another workplace safety case. In that case, a worker was killed and a few others injured.
The defence from WongPartnership argued for a fine of not more than $290,000, saying that the previous conviction was in relation to scaffolding and was under a different set of circumstances.
“In fact, I respectfully submit it’s an unusual case when your own designer finds a design error and decides not to tell you and give you a general impression there are no issues with the design,” said Senior Counsel Alvin Yeo.
He was referring to Robert Arianto Tjandra, the registered professional engineer of the project, who pleaded guilty midway through a trial and was given about a year and nine months’ jail and a S$10,000 fine.
A team of prosecutors, Yang Ziliang, Norine Tan and Kang Jia Hui, led by Senior Counsel Kristy Tan, also called for project director Yee Chee Keong and engineer Wong Kiew Hai to be jailed for at least 15 months and 13 months respectively.
The two men were convicted in January of recklessly endangering the workers’ safety by not calling for work to be stopped when they discovered cracks, and for obstructing justice by deleting incriminating WhatsApp messages.
Eleven workers were on top of a section of the viaduct that was being constructed from the Tampines Expressway (TPE) to the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) and Upper Changi Road East at about 3.30am on Jul 14, 2017.
It gave way and collapsed, killing 31-year-old China national Chen Yinchuan and injuring 10 others, with injuries ranging from fractures of the pelvis and spine to lacerations.
Yee, Wong and OKP knew that cracks had repeatedly appeared on the corbels or temporary supports of the viaduct but ignored them.
The company did not inform LTA of any of the prior corbel cracks, even though the company knew that the authority would want to know about it and would require an explanation.
The longest and most severe cracks were discovered 40 minutes before the collapse, while the workers were casting the deck slab and continually adding wet concrete, but no one stopped work.
After the structure collapsed, Yee and Wong both deleted their WhatsApp messages to each other proving they knew of the cracks, and lied to authorities that they had ordered work to stop but that this did not happen in time.
The accredited checker for the construction of the viaduct, Leong Sow Hon, pleaded guilty to his role and was given six months’ jail.
LTA in December 2018 announced that it had appointed another company to finish the viaduct, and it is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.