| Faza Suraj |
AN INITIAL investigation has been conducted to ascertain the root cause of the mishap at the cons-truction site of the Maktab Sains Kuala Belait project, which left nine workers injured on Wednesday.
Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Suyoi bin Hj Osman was at the site yesterday, together with officials from the Labour Department, Ministry of Development, Public Works Department, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Department of Economic, Planning and Development.
“At the moment there is not much we can say as investigations are still ongoing,” the minister told the media.
In response to whether violations of any kind had been identified, he said, “There are none. The workers were doing light work which involved tidying up to prepare for the next day of work. They had ensured there was enough lighting to safely carry out their duties.”
With regard to the death of a worker (not related to yesterday’s mishap) who had fallen from the first floor of a nearby building (also under construction and part of the same project) several days ago, the minister said, “The safety harness the worker was attached to came off when he fell. Safety measures need to be taken so incidents like this would not happen in the future.”
A statement released by the Department of Labour read: The Department of Labour as the Custodian of the Workplace, Safety and Health Order 2009 would like to highlight its concern on safety and health issues at the workplace to protect the rights of everyone in the workplace.
It added, based on discussions with the investigating team – comprising personnel from the Department of Labour, Ministry of Home Affairs; Occupational Health Division, Health Services Department; and Public Works Department, Ministry of Development – the construction site was found to be unsafe for workers.
As a result, the Department of Labour has issued a stop-work order with immediate effect to the principal contractor of the Maktab Sains Kuala Belait project until it is deemed safe and without risk to everyone and its surroundings.
By virtue of Section 21 of the Workplace Safety and Health Order 2009, the Commissioner of Workplace Safety and Health can issue stop-work order in the event a workplace is deemed unsafe, or a person who has contravened any duty imposed by this order and/or any person who poses or is likely to pose a risk to the safety, health and welfare of persons at work.
Ronald Guiang, a supervisor who was on duty on the night of the incident, told the media a commotion had occurred at the construction site at around 7.30pm.
Part of the area which was supposed to be the entrance to a multi-purpose hall had collapsed to the ground, injuring five Indonesian and four Bangladeshi men. The ambulance was contacted after that, he said.
An excavator was immediately put into use to remove the collapsed reinforced concrete debris that had trapped some of the victims.
Fellow workers residing nearby quickly removed the injured men, who have been working with the company for a few years, transporting them to the site office which was far safer.