Cleaner dies – Did WP town council ensure contractors have acceptable safety practices?


A cleaner on duty at a rubbish bin centre in in opposition-run Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC) died yesterday.

AHTC has outsourced the conservancy work to a private contractor, and the cleaner, a Bangladeshi, worked for this contractor. The cleaner, aged 34, was found inside the waste compactor of the centralised refuse chute, and succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

AHTC and the contractor are now assisting the police and the officers from the Ministry of Manpower in their investigations into the accident.

The town council chairman and MP of Aljuned GRC, Pritam Singh, has said that as investigations are ongoing, it is inappropriate for him to comment further on the accident.

Mr Singh however said that, “the Town Council management has directed all its conservancy contractors to carry out toolbox talks to their staff, and to follow up with additional safety briefings as a matter of urgency”.

A Toolbox Talk is an informal group discussion which focuses on a particular safety issue, and may be used daily to promote a safety culture on the job site.

A toolbox talk developed by Harvard Campus Services for example highlights the following ‘do’s and don’ts’ for hydraulic trash compactor safety:
toolboxWaste disposal workers who come from third world countries like Bangladesh are usually unfamiliar with the waste compactor used in our rubbish bin centres.

The accident and the MP’s comments raises questions of if adequate safety measures where adopted by the outsourced contractors, and if the town-council checked that the outsourced contractor adopted proper safety procedures before awarding them the contract.

The town council chairman has promised to “personally update everyone once the details of the incident are cleared and confirmed”.