SINGAPORE — Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo will appoint an inquiry committee to investigate the fire and explosion at Stars Engrg Pte Ltd in Tuas on Wednesday (24 February) that killed three workers and left another five in critical condition.
In a media release on Saturday (27 February), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that the previous time an inquiry committee was convened for a workplace accident was in 2004, to investigate the MRT worksite incident that led to the collapse of Nicoll Highway.
MOM added that the inquiry committee is expected to carry out a thorough study into the factors that led to the fire and explosion. It will also make recommendations including policy, regulatory or Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) measures to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.
The composition of the committee and its terms of reference will be announced at a later date. It will be led by a district judge with two technical assessors, and its proceedings will be in open court.
Accident caused by combustible dust explosion
The fire and explosion occurred at the Platinum@Pioneer industrial building at 32E Tuas Avenue 11 on Wednesday.
According to the commissioner for WSH, preliminary investigations have found that the accident was caused by a combustible dust explosion. The dust was in the form of potato starch powder, a material used for production Stars Engrg.
Eight people were conveyed to the Singapore General Hospital for burn injuries. Three of them died in hospital, while five remain in critical condition.
The National Trades Union Congress and the Migrant Workers' Centre have been in touch with affected workers and their companies to render assistance.
MOM said in its media release on Saturday that Singapore's fatal injury rate at workplaces has reduced from 4.9 per 100,000 workers in 2004 to 1.1 per 100,000 workers in 2019.
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