Malaysian Man Working in Singapore Dies After Inhaling Toxic Gas at PUB's Choa Chu Kang Waterworks

An aerial shot of PUB's Choa Chu Kang Waterworks PUB website

Singapore's National Water Agency (PUB) spokesperson revealed on Wednesday that the 24-year-old Malaysian worker, who was being treated at the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) after inhaling toxic gas, has died of his injuries on Tuesday night.

This is the second fatality of a gas inhalation incident at the Choa Chu Kang Waterworks (CCKWW) last week.

The deceased, who was an employee of PUB's contractor Stargroup Est, along with two other workers had collapsed after inhaling hydrogen sulfide gas while draining sludge from one of the plant's pulsator tanks as part of tank cleaning work.

For the uninitiated, hydrogen sulfide is a gas that is produced from sludge, which is a by-product of the water treatment process. It is a colorless gas with a potent, unpleasant odour, and is highly toxic and flammable.

Worker Succumbed to His Injuries

Following the incident, one worker was pronounced dead at the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital on the same day, while two other Malaysian workers were treated at the hospital's ICU.

The 24-year-old Malaysian worker "received all necessary medical treatment but unfortunately, succumbed to his injuries at around 10 pm on May 28", said PUB, Singapore's national water agency.

Meanwhile, the other 39-year-old worker was shifted out of the ICU on Tuesday and is in stable condition.

PUB expressed its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased worker. The spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday, "Together with our contractor, we are doing everything possible to support his family during this difficult period."

PUB Progressively Lifting the Safety Timeout at Worksites

The statement added that it is cooperating fully with the Ministry of Manpower on its investigation and is conducting a safety investigation of its own. The agency said, "We would like to seek the public's understanding that we are unable to provide further information on the incident at this juncture."

The spokesperson said that as part of its safety timeout, PUB has been reviewing agency's safety protocols, especially those pertaining to work in confined spaces as well as reinforcing the importance of following procedures to ensure the safety of employees and contractor workers.

"We have been progressively lifting the safety timeout at worksites and plants where we are satisfied that the necessary and appropriate measures are in place," the spokesperson said.