Accident Advisory: Worker pinned by cargo container

15 Apr 2020

Ref No.: 150420 (1)

UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

Accident Advisory: Worker pinned by cargo container

Ref: 1920109 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 16 March 2020

On 11 March 2020, a worker was working on board a marine vessel when he was pinned by a 20-foot container that was being lowered onto the vessel by a quayside crane. The injured worker was conveyed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.


Safe lifting operation

  • Establish a lifting plan to ensure that the lifting operation can be carried out safely. Key information in the lifting plan should include information on the load to be lifted and its weight, the rigging method to be used as well as a sketch of the zone of operation with the initial and final location of the load and its path of travel.
  • Prior to starting the lifting work, checks for obstacle along the path of travel that can hinder the safe manoeuvring of the load or result in possible entrapment points must be done. This can be achieved by conducting a workplace inspection prior to work commencement.
  • Cordon off the zone of operation to prevent persons who are not involved in the lifting operation from entering the zone while the lifting operation is in progress. The lifting team should maintain a safe distance from the suspended load while it is being lifted. No one should be allowed to be under the suspended load at any time.
  • Ensure lifting and lowering of loads are done safely within stipulated speed limit. Additional safety considerations include the use of taglines for better control of the movement of the suspended load, special provisions (e.g. by installing remote cameras) to ensure the crane operator’s clear line of sight of the lifting operation, and the placement of warning signs to alert persons in the vicinity of the lifting activity and to stay clear of the zone of operation.

Lifting team competency

  • Ensure all members of the lifting team are competent in their respective roles (i.e. lifting supervisor, crane operator, signalman, rigger) and have successfully completed the relevant safety and health training (e.g. Supervise Safe Lifting Operations course for lifting supervisors).
  • Crane operator must be trained to operate the specific make and model of the lifting equipment used on site.

Work supervision

  • Ensure the presence of an on-site lifting supervisor to oversee and co-ordinate all lifting activities in accordance with the lifting plan.
  • Supervisors are to conduct toolbox meeting prior to work commencement so that all workers are aware of on-site hazards and the risk control measures that are in place.
  • Always confirm that each member of the lifting team is in a safe work position before and during the lifting operation.

Risk Assessment

Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all work activities to control any foreseeable risk that may arise when carrying out lifting operations. The RA should cover, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Effectiveness of Permit-To-Work (PTW) system for lifting activities and its on-site implementation.
  • Effectiveness of communication between lifting team members before and during lifting operations.
  • Personnel movement in and around the lifting zone.
  • Emergency response plan including site-specific rescue plan and medical evacuation in the event of accident.

Further Information

  1. Workplace Safety and Health Act
  2. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
  3. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
  4. Workplace Safety and Health (Operation of Cranes) Regulations 2011
  5. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
  6. Code of Practice on Safe Lifting Operations in the Workplaces
  7. WSH Council’s Guidebook for Lifting Supervisors
  8. WSH Council’s Worker’s Safety Handbook for Crane Operator
  9. WSH Council’s Worker’s Safety Handbook for Rigger and Signalman
  10. WSH Council’s Guide to Effective Toolbox Meeting 
  11. WSH Council’s 6 Basic WSH Rules for Lifting Operations

Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at 04 April 2020. This may be subject to change as investigations are still on-going. Please note that the information provided here is not exhaustive and for the benefit of enhancing workplace safety and health so that a recurrence may be prevented. The information provided is not to be construed as implying any liability to any party nor should it be taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and obligations under the law.