Shipyard fined $230,000 for fatal boom failure
Singapore’s Jurong Shipyard was fined $230,000 by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) last week for failing to ensure that a boom lift was maintained and safe to use for working at height, following a fatal incident at its yard in October 2011.
Jurong Shipyard was working on a ship repair contract in October 2011, and had subcontracted Shipblast Marine sandblast the vessel. Two Shipblast employees were working from the boom lift basket, blasting the front of the ship, when a boom section catastrophically failed, dropping the men almost 30 metres to the bottom of the dry dock. The were declared dead at the scene on October 29th 2011.
The MOM investigation found that just three months earlier, the boom lift had undergone an 18 month maintenance, overhaul and inspection overhaul. During the overhaul extensive corrosion was found on all four boom sections as well as to platform area. The problems were treated by simply blasting away the rust and painting over the affected areas.
One of the sections however had sustained significant wear with the thickness of the boom wall material worn down from the original 6.0 mm to just 2.86mm. The manufacturer's guidelines clearly state that a boom section with this amount of wear should be replaced. However Jurong Shipyard did not refer to the manufacturer's inspection guidelines, referring instead to the American Bureau of Shipping rules for survey after construction, which is meant for ships, not lifting equipment. As a result it did not replace the section in question.
In a formal statement MOM said that Jurong Shipyard had also subsequently failed to conduct comprehensive checks on the boom, including failing to extend the boom during routine inspections, and thus serious detectable issues not caught.
MOM director of occupational safety and health inspectorate Chan Yew Kwong added: "Jurong Shipyard failed to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safe use of its equipment. It should have referred to the manufacturer's inspection guidelines to check for corrosion and cracks and conduct thorough equipment checks to ensure the safety of its workers. Two workers lost their lives as a result of poor equipment maintenance. MOM will prosecute owners of equipment who fail to provide for its safe use, putting workers' lives at risk."