Singapore: Engineering firm fined S$200,000 after employee's electrocution death

MW Group has been convicted of neglecting employees' safety

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MW Group, an equipment calibration and testing company in Singapore, was convicted on Friday of neglecting the safety of its employees and fined $200,000 after a worker died of electrocution while testing a machine.

Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released a statement saying that the company was found at fault after a five-day trial of their safety and health conditions. Many lapses were found during the observation.

These include lack of safe work procedures for calibration and testing of an arc reflection system (ARS) machine as well as no specific risk assessment. The Energy Market Authority (EMA) said that test fixtures were not set up before starting the high voltage testing and necessary safety precautions were also not adhered to, like standing 1.5 metres away from the machine.

The victim, Suyambu Suman, was testing and calibrating the ARS machine at Pantech Business Hub on November 7, 2013, when the mishap took place. While holding a high voltage probe which reached 12kV, Suman was electrocuted as the power of the output cable exceeded the safety limit and caused a flashover.

After falling unconscious at the site, Suman died later the same day. The cause of his death was said to be electrocution. Investigation revealed that no safety measures were installed before the procedure began.

It has also been found that the technicians were not aware of the risks associated with the testing, nor did they know how to protect themselves from any mishap while handling the ARS machine. MOM's director of occupational safety and health inspectorate Chan Yew Kwong said that companies that neglect the safety of their employees should be fined and punished otherwise.

This article was first published on January 19, 2018