Family raises questions over death of Indian worker in Singapore

There have been at least 22 reported workplace deaths in Singapore in 2023

Representative image (photo: IANS)
Representative image (photo: IANS)
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IANS

The family of a 23-year-old construction worker from Tamil Nadu, who died in a workplace accident in Singapore earlier this month, has been questioning the circumstances leading to the young man's death.

Ponraman Eazhumalai, a concrete pump assistant, was caught between the chassis of a concrete pump truck and a retracting outrigger at a worksite in Jurong Road, Singapore's Straits Times reported.

Outriggers are retractable legs that extend out and away from a concrete pump to provide stability and prevent it from tipping over.

Eazhumalai was the breadwinner of the family, supporting his grandfather, parents, an older sister and a 13-year-old brother, none of whom is working.

Seeking answers, Eazhumalai's relatives hoped that the authorities would look into what exactly caused the fatal accident, which occurred at about 11.20 pm on 2 December.

Eazhumalai came to Singapore eight months ago and was employed by TMC Concrete Pumping Services.

According to the news report, he was standing at the back of the concrete pump truck putting away a steel plate when the mishap happened. After the accident, he was able to walk away from the truck, but collapsed shortly afterwards. He was taken to a hospital in private transport arranged by the main contractor of the project, China Railway 11 Bureau Group Corp.

While Eazhumalai died of his injuries the next day, the authorities have not mentioned what injuries he had. Two of his uncles who also work in Singapore said they believed the injury was not serious when they were alerted that same night, but in less than 24 hours, their nephew was dead.


“Why wasn’t an ambulance called, and why didn’t they take him to the nearest hospital? His life could have been saved,” they said, claiming that Eazhumalai was not taken to the nearest hospital to the accident site, which was a five- to 10-minute drive away.

Eazhumalai had a diploma in mechanical engineering from India and was about to take lessons to get a Class 3 driving licence after obtaining his Class 2B and 3C licences in November, his uncles told Straits Times.

His death leaves the family thousands of dollars in debt. “Our family is suffering. We don’t know how we will recover from this. Every day we are talking about this, we cannot sleep, we cannot eat,” the uncles added.

In response to queries from Straits Times, Singapore's ministry of manpower (MOM) said as a general safety measure, workers should keep a safe distance from construction equipment and machinery, such as concrete pump trucks and mobile cranes, while they are in operation.

According to the police, based on preliminary investigations, no foul play is suspected. There have been at least 22 workplace deaths reported in the media since the start of 2023 in Singapore.

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