Monday, August 19, 2013

Safety concerns rise as mishaps grow at LRT sites

Questions are being asked whether safety is still a priority at light rail transit (LRT) construction sites after a woman escaped death when a crane crushed her car on Saturday afternoon.

Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) deputy director-general (operational) Mohtar Musri said the department would not hesitate to take legal action against the project contractor, TRC Synergy Sdn Bhd, if it was found to be negligent.

The woman, in her 40s, had parked her car in Jalan USJ 2/3, Subang Jaya, when the crane carrying out piling work for the LRT extension project fell.

“Investigations are ongoing. We will bring the contractor to court if it is proven to be negligent,” Mohtar said.

He said initial findings showed the accident was caused by a structural failure in the crane, which could have been due to overloading.

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A stop-work order has been issued.

“A directive had previously been given to the contractors and sub-contractors outlining the operational guidelines. This latest mishap shows they have not adhered to it,” he said.

Mohtar said investigations into previous incidents showed a lack of supervision and the absence of on-site engineers to assist crane operators.

Asked why the contractors had not been suspended, he said suspension of contracts or blacklisting them was outside DOSH’s jurisdiction.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) president Datuk N. Marimuthu said accidents at LRT extension project sites showed that contractors had not adhered to proper safety measures.

“DOSH should conduct a thorough investigation. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission should also step in and investigate,” he said.

“These accidents show blatant negligence by the contractors.

Road Safety Council of Malaysia member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said safety at work sites must not be taken lightly.

Lee said the public no longer felt safe when they drove past or were in the vicinity of construction projects involving the use of cranes.

In March, construction equipment being hoisted by a crane fell and crushed two cars at the Kelana Jaya LRT line extension site in Subang Jaya.

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