Two killed in shipyard blast

Dear All,

Recent workplace ‘explosion’ accident at the Benoi road claimed two casualties of the workers who performed a hot-work (inspection) at site (read on below news for details).

It’s a workplace industrial accident that should be prevented and should not happen. But yet, it happened, claiming the life of good people out there trying to earn a living.

In MOM Statistics year 2007, fire and explosion was the third most common accident type for workplace fatalities, contributing to 14.3% of all workplace fatalities; with employees most at risk include those from the process, chemical and marine industries as well as of those who perform welding operations.

Two killed in shipyard blast

Nevertheless, in year 2010, the statistics read as below; while Fire and Explosion fatalities still remain amongst the top 5th contributor of workplace fatalities.

Two killed in shipyard blast

How does it relate to our company?

Potential Fire and Explosion risks correspond to our company activities, such as:

  • Hot-work activities (e.g. gas welding/cutting, etc),
  • Storage of flammable substances (e.g. diesel tank, etc),
  • Electrical installation (e.g. DB box, short-circuit, etc),
  • Machinery and Equipment operations and maintenance (e.g. inside machine cabin, genset, welding equipment, etc).
How could we prevent that to happen?
  • Prior to initiation of (hot) work, perform a hazard assessment to identify the scope of work, potential hazards and methods of hazard control.
  • Implement the Permit to Work system (e.g. Hot work, Confined Space, etc).
  • Qualified personnel shall be familiar with specific site hazards in order to review, authorize and issue permits in accordance with exact work to be conducted within that period and necessary precautions to be taken.
  • Train thoroughly the site personnel on hot work policies/procedures, safety equipment and job specific hazards and controls.
  • Maintain a good housekeeping of the machinery and equipment (e.g. do not store any newspaper/oil container inside the machine cabin).
  • Valid extinguisher shall be provided and readily available.
  • Electrical equipment is checked and certified by L.E.W as well as to obtain relevant licences from authority (e.g. EMA License for Genset).
  • Smoking is only allowed at designated area.
  • Flammable material & dangerous substances are stored properly (with SDS available).
  • Use a proper gas equipment (refer to the attachment file – Safe Use of Oxygen-fuel gas equipment guidelines)
  • If required, conduct gas monitoring of flammable liquids and gases within the working area, especially in the confined area.
  • Provide safety supervision for subcontractors conducting hot work. Site personnel shall inform contractors (in written) about site-specific hazards including the presence of flammable materials on site.
  • Turn off utilities / disconnect electrical appliances on site before calling off the day / over the weekend.
  • Maintain a documentation of EHS records (e.g. Approved RA, RA briefing, toolbox & orientation meeting, inspection records, approved licenses, appointment letter, etc).
  • And lastly, in any doubts, please ask for assistance from qualified/authorised personnel.

Those are basically some points that I could recall and identify; appreciate if you have any advice to share.

Have a good weekend.


David Simon.

Attachments: (note: let me know if you can’t retrieve the attachments)

  • Technical Advisory for Flammable Hazardous Substances
  • MOM Circular on the Safe Use of Oxygen-Fuel Gas Equipment.
  • WSH Council Checklist on Flammable Hazardous Substances.
  • Video of an Accident of Industrial Welding.

Two killed in shipyard blast at Benoi Road

(Yahoo News, Thurs – 2 May 2011)

SCDF officers searching for other workers who might have been trapped or injured. (Yahoo! photo/Jeanette Tan)

Two foreign workers, a Malaysian and a Bangladeshi, were killed during a powerful shipyard explosion atBenoi Roadin the Tuas area on Thursday afternoon.

Both workers are reported to be from Haosen Marine Ptd Ltd. They were pronounced dead when paramedics arrived at 1.31pm.

The Ministry of Manpower has identified the two casualties to be a 43-year-old Malaysian Malay and a 20-year-old Bangladeshi.

Yahoo! Singapore understands that the two workers were working on a barge that was undergoing maintenance work when a powerful blast took place. However, there was no fire when the SCDF arrived.

It’s believed that one of the two deceased workers was welding a hole in the barge when the resulting heat from the operation sparked a powerful explosion that ripped through the barge. The blast is said to have been caused by the build-up of pressurised air which was not released before the welding operation began.

The windows on the first floor of the UDL building next door were shattered from the impact of the accident.

Witnesses Yahoo! Singapore spoke to at the scene and who were working in a nearby building said the blast was so powerful that it split the barge in two and caused the Malaysian worker to fly from the barge, over a building and into another workshop. They also said the deceased Bangladeshi’s body was badly mangled, and that some of his limbs had detached from it.

The powerful blast also caused the metallic walls of the building beside the barge to be shredded apart. Sources told Yahoo! that fortunately, the rest of the team of workers supposed to be at the barge were inside the building attending a safety briefing.

Others working at a marine equipment workshop in the same building quickly ran out of the building after they heard the explosion happen. One said he was still dizzy and still reeling in shock from what had happened. His car, alongside another and a lorry, was damaged from the impact of the explosion, with its windows severely shattered.

The accident site at Number 3, Benoi Road, where a barge exploded from a suspected air pressure breach.

40-year-old Jayanthi Maniam, who runs an oil and gas business, went to Benoi Road right after hearing about the accident. She said she has some marine equipment stored at the same site worth several hundred thousand dollars, but had not been allowed in to check on them.

“I don’t know if my equipment is safe,” she said. “I haven’t had the chance to go in there to see, and I guess I’ll only know the extent of the damage when I do.”

Her sister, Doris, runs a marine repair workshop and has several family members working there.

People working nearBenoi Roadsaid they felt the whole stretch “shake like an earthquake”. Building windows adjacent to the accident site were also shattered, and refineries across the pier were evacuated after alarms were triggered from the vibrations caused by the accident.