Construction Worker Dies After Falling 10 Storeys to the Ground in BTO Worksite


Construction sites are known to be dangerous.

On 9 October, a construction worker at a Sembawang Build-To-Order (BTO) site fell ten storeys.

Unfortunately, the accident was fatal.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is currently investigating the incident.

Man Falls Ten Storeys in Fatal Workplace Accident

MOM told Channel News Asia that the accident happened at Block 371B Sembawang Avenue at about 3 pm.

Image: Google Maps

The worker was a 29-year-old construction worker from Bangladesh.

He was employed by Jian Xin Construction and was working at the Sun Sails BTO project site.

The Housing Development Board (HDB) is the site developer, while its occupier is BHCC Construction.

He was on the tenth story of the site when he fell to his death.

Reportedly, he was guiding a crane operator that was lifting a material waste bucket.

However, the bucket swung towards him, striking him down.

The worker fell to the ground, along with the fall protection barriers.

A Facebook post on Complaint Singapore Unrestricted showed an image of a worker lying face down on the floor of the construction site.

According to the police, they had received a call for assistance at the site around the time of the accident.

The worker was sent to the hospital unconscious.

He was brought to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where he died from his injuries.


MOM said it has since instructed the occupier to stop all lifting works.

MOM said that as a general safety measure, the lifting crew should maintain their line of sight of the lifted load and ensure their positions are danger-free.

Investigations are currently ongoing.

HDB’s Response

Speaking to Channel News Asia, HDB said it will provide the worker’s family with all the necessary support and assistance.

Furthermore, the agency is working with the building contractor to investigate the incident.


Noting that the safety of workers at worksites is the agency’s priority, HDB added, “We are mindful that the safety and health of the workers cannot be compromised even as we deliver homes to flat buyers.”

HDB also reiterated that safety audit inspections are conducted regularly for all ongoing projects.

These inspections focus on high-risk areas, such as the safety of workers working at heights.

The inspections also focus on the safe use of machinery.

In addition, HDB holds regular sharing sessions with project contractors, reminding them of the importance of workplace safety.

Responding to the tragedy, assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Melvin Yong wrote a Facebook post.


Calling the accident “another unfortunate workplace accident that resulted in a loss of life”, he added that the accident could have been avoided.

He wrote, “My heart goes out to the affected family members.

“This loss is a stark reminder of the importance of workplace safety and the need for continued vigilance in creating and maintaining safe working environments.”

Even though the accident is still under investigation, he urged companies to “stop and re-examine their work procedures to ensure that the necessary safety measures are in place.”

He said, “We need to do better.”


Reiterating that the tragedy “should not have happened and could be prevented”, he added, “We must do all we can to prevent accidents from happening at the workplace.

“Let us continue to work together to look out for one another and make every workplace safer for every worker.”

Similar Incident

This isn’t the first fatal workplace accident to have occurred this year.

MOM reported 14 workplace deaths from January to June 2023.

On 15 June, a worker was killed at a Tanjong Pagar building site.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and MOM said that a reinforced concrete wall from the second storey of a building collapsed.

The concrete wall wasn’t small either, measuring about 10m long and 3.8m high.

The worker was reported missing following the wall’s collapse.


He was later found pinned under the collapsed structure.

His body was recovered nearly four hours later.

MOM Steps Up Inspection

In August 2023, it was reported that MOM would increase its inspection activities by 50% over the next two months.

Furthermore, companies with serious breaches will have their management system audited.

2022 saw the highest number of workplace deaths since 2016.

There were 46 workplace deaths.

This prompted MOM to implement a heightened safety period in September 2022, tightening enforcement and introducing new safety measures to worksites.

On 31 May, the heightened safety period came to a close.

Notably, some measures were retained.

Furthermore, new ones were announced.

Mr Silas Sng, the divisional director of MOM’s occupational safety and health division, noted that the inspections were part of the enhanced measures following the end of the heightened safety period.

He noted that while the agency has been keeping up its efforts to enforce safety measures and maintain vigilance, some worksites still didn’t have basic control measures put in place.

Additionally, investigations into workplace incidents revealed a general lack of ownership and emphasis on safety at the workplace.

The heightened safety period aided in bringing Singapore’s fatality rate below 1 per 100,000 workers.

However, major injury rates worsened.

Tighter Enforcement is Not a Sustainable Approach

In May 2023, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqr Mohamad noted that the heightened safety period was not sustainable for ensuring workplace safety in Singapore.

He noted that the measure relied on stricter enforcement and penalties, which would be difficult to sustain in the long run.

In response, MOM made adjustments to its approach.

MOM planned to expand a demerit points system for workplace health and safety breaches to the manufacturing sector from 1 October.

He noted that as of May 2023, the demerit points system was already implemented in the construction sector.

Furthermore, construction sites with a project value of over $5,000,000 would need a video surveillance system from June 2024.

The system would help identify risks, facilitate investigations and deter unsafe behaviour.

A Channel News Asia article that was published in June 2023 echoed his views.

The article pointed out that workplace injuries and deaths occurred after the heightened safety period ended.

It also added that tight enforcement could result in stakeholders “shifting the burden” of maintaining workplace safety to the authorities instead.

This could lead to a degradation of safety culture within the organisation.

Thus, companies must focus on the fundamental problems of workplace fatalities.

Such problems include inadequate leadership commitment and the managing team neglecting to reflect on the causing factors of an accident.

Insufficient worker participation and consultation could also deteriorate safety in the workplace.

What can Individuals do?

In August, Mr Sng noted that workers and members of the public can report unsafe workplace practices to MOM.

Mr Yong’s Facebook post also included a measure launched by NTUC.

Called the “SPOT, STOP and REPORT” campaign, NTUC hopes to encourage workers and reassure them of their right to report unsafe workplace situations.

Image: Facebook (@Melvin Yong)

In this way, workers can keep themselves and their colleagues safe.

He added, “We urge all companies to put in place quickly proper reporting channels at the workplace for their staff to report safety concerns.”