4:34 pm - Tuesday October 18, 9492

Concrete span crushing 3 Bangladeshis not properly balanced    

A 350-tonne falling concrete span that killed three Bangladeshi MRT workers last month could have been avoided if shims had been in place to balance it.

An investigation by MRT Corp revealed that the span toppled from its piers on Aug 18 because no shims were beneath it while parapets were installed on one side of the span’s top.

“What happened was the work to install the parapet was carried out without shims, with the temporary jacks being very close together,” MRT Corp chief executive Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid told reporters here Friday.

m workersAccording to MRT Corp, shims are metal boxes filled with grout that are placed on a pier head to support the viaduct while it is placed on temporary jacks during construction.

Azhar said the investigation showed that the entire span was resting on the temporary jacks holding it up.

He added that the parapets were also installed on only one side of the span, as opposed to both sides at the same time.

Three Bangladeshi construction workers were crushed to death when the concrete span fell on them on Aug 18 near a former Rubber Research Institute land area here.

MRT Corp’s investigation was conducted by the company and its project delivery partner MMC-Gamuda KVMRT.

During the press conference, Azhar noted additional factors that led to the accident.

These were:

  • a lack of method statement for the erection of parapets on viaducts for single tracks
  • insufficient supervision on sit
  • failure to identify risks and implement mitigation measures
  • failure to provide a comprehensive inspection and test plan
  • failure to communicate risks between various parties involved in the workd
  • and poor sub-contractor management.

To this, Azhar the main contractor “should have known” that installing the span was risky, and that MMC-Gamuda KVMRT could have made sure the situation could have been avoided.

In terms of action, Azhar said MRT Corp could remove individuals from the span’s contractors found to have been responsible for the incident.

He added that contractors and consultants found responsible could also be blacklisted from working on further projects (such as MRT’s Line 2), though MRT Corp had yet decide on the matter.

Azhar clarified that any legal action can only be taken by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, after investigations by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

“I believe DOSH’s findings from their investigation would be similar to our investigation findings,” he said.

 – By Patrick Lee, Kualalampur