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Fatal gas exposure at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks: One dead, two in intensive care

In a tragic incident at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks on Thursday, one worker died and two were critically injured after inhaling hydrogen sulphide gas during tank cleaning. The victims, foreign nationals, were exposed while performing routine maintenance. Investigations and safety reviews are underway.



In an incident at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks on Thursday (23 May), a sub-contractor died, and two others were critically injured after inhaling hydrogen sulphide gas during routine cleaning operations.

The Singapore Public Utilities Board (PUB) confirmed that the three workers, all foreign nationals, were involved in tank cleaning when they collapsed.

According to local media, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) responded to the hazardous material alert at around 11:25 am, shortly after the incident occurred at 11:15 am.

Despite immediate intervention, one worker, a 40-year-old Indian national employed as a cleaning operations manager by Supersonic Maintenance Services, succumbed to the exposure. The other two, Malaysian nationals aged 39 and 24, remain in intensive care at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

Hydrogen sulphide, a toxic by-product of the water treatment process, is characterized by a pungent odor similar to rotten eggs. SCDF teams, equipped with breathing gear, used water jets to disperse the vapors, successfully clearing the site within an hour.

In response to the fatal event, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has initiated a thorough investigation and ordered an immediate halt to all tank cleaning activities at PUB facilities.

“Proper ventilation must be ensured to prevent toxic vapour accumulation, and workers should be equipped with gas monitoring devices and personal protective equipment, including respirator masks and breathing apparatus,” an MOM spokesperson emphasized.

Additionally, PUB has instituted a safety timeout across all similar operations in confined spaces while they review and enhance safety measures.

“The safety timeout will be in effect until we are satisfied that the necessary safety measures are implemented,” stated a PUB spokesperson, who also extended deepest condolences to the family of the deceased worker.

Choa Chu Kang Waterworks is considered one of Singapore’s oldest water treatment plants and is the only one in the western part of Singapore.

It is located about 500m west of Nanyang Technological University’s School of Biological Sciences, and surrounded by a forest on its southern side and the rest of the Western Catchment Area to its north and west. It was built in two phases in 1975 and 1981.

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True to form and even in reality, PAP Politics mandate them to invest in foreigners – in life and literally, deaths – instead of own people.

SG youths, people DO NOT DESERVES PAP’s investment for the future. 100s of 1000s of VALUABLE University scholarships GIVEN SO freely to Foreigners. Free board and lodging, jobs via serving bonds are almost guaranteed. And scholarships BONDS not served WERE NOT RECOVERED fully.

Sports awards ARE GIVEN to Foreigners, AND THEY ABSCONDED with Millions of Tax Payers money.

Inhaling failures causing deaths should be termed as temporary breathing stopped – pending revival – as per MRT temp closures.

Obviously the SOP is based on NO BLAME CULTURE – culprits needed no further investigations are, systems, the workers, the equipment, the wind, the air. Nothing at ALL should fingers point at Management and Minister.

You guys got to understand the industrial safety rules and regulations and who lay down and enforce it. What is the role the MOM, management, safety officer and individual play here. When accident of such happens is it a human or systemic issue. Human issue as of rules are not followed and violated. Systemic issue as of the rules has gaps and not robust. Each of this will have a different liable party to answer. Not everything the top got to answer. One thing for sure is people don’t want to see is MOM shut down your factory line pending… Read more »

Terrible News!!!!
Actually there are many rules to follow, with this kind of jobs.
Unfortunately some foreigners find it meaningless until some shit hits the roof.
Looks like it again.
Hope they recover soon!
God Bless.

Wah, heng ah, no wonder foreign workers work in this type job, better non-sgrean died than sgrean died. Correct or not?
Cleaning operation manager (foreigner) also must go do cleaning tioh boh? I may sound cruel, think, this type of cleaning need professional or any type people who do two weeks of OJT can start work?

I wondered what type certification and qualifications, including training, is needed for this type job? Can use skilled-future to get training? 🤔

Another life lost! As I had argued previously, all so-called safety measures will have little impact unless the top people in the company or organisation are held accountable. In another working life, I was a bonded warehouse manager. The warehouse was full of duty unpaid liquor. And liquor is very, very flammable. I won’t mention the company I worked in but the warehouse was very, very huge. When I joined the organisation, I realised there was rampant smoking within the warehouse area. I discussed the matter with my general manager (who was a smoker) and he vetoed my presentation and… Read more »

Now is the BLAME GAME & finger pointing on the hapless voiceless workers. PUB,the main contractors,the subcontractors etc etc ARE RESPONSIBLE to ensure a SAFE work place & stringent safety measures must be in place before work commence. A lot of WAYANG going on here,there everywhere,it is only when hapless voiceless people die then we wake up. after a while this LEEpeat again & again,no one is held to account,tried in court for negligience & jailed hapless,voiceless,nameless Foreign Workers pays the price!!!

Job sounds damn risky, like working in coal mines. Any missed next moment you are dead. You think our local will do?

Were they wearing protective gear? SCDF officer dead now this? Can the relevant authorities please explain?

Ah Wong just took over all jinx.
Maybe biggest jinx is to …..

what a welcoming daily since the regime change…hmmm

If the toxic by product is expected and the workers attending to the cleaning of said tanks were wearing safety and breathing gear, … how were they then “exposed” to the point of inhaling it !!!

Was the safety/breathing gear faulty or safety protocols not adhered to or were the workers not adequately trained ?!!!

A tragic and unnecessary waste of a human life. May he RIP and Godspeed to the other two recovering workers.