Over the weekend, three Malaysians in three separate cases cheated death after their cars were struck by heavy construction material while driving near or under upcoming structures.
The first incident shocked netizens when a one-metre square concrete slab from the construction of the Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) fell onto a woman’s car. According to FMT, Prolintas – the project developer, later confirmed the accident and said a stop-work order had been immediately issued. It said the company would provide full cooperation for investigations into the accident.
Soon after, another report was made where a different woman in a car was hit by a big piece from a tower crane which fell off from a trailer at Jalan SS2/24, Petaling Jaya. An initial investigation found that the tower crane, which was being transported, had knocked into two telephone poles along the road, causing it to fall off the trailer lorry.
The most recent case which happened yesterday also involves a crane, specifically the hook which detached and fell onto a driving car. While netizens assumed that it was linked to the SUKE construction, it is reported that a private crane that had no relation with SUKE was the cause behind the accident. The case is under investigation and classified as a hit-and-run.
Luckily, for all of these victims, they managed to escape what could have been a gruesome accident.
What’s scary is that – accidents caused by equipment at construction sites happen way too often. While cases in the past might not have gotten as much publicity as these recent cases, according to NST, the high number of deaths and injuries related to the construction industry is troubling.
In 2018 alone, the industry recorded the highest number of deaths across the nation’s economic sectors. In fact, our Fatal Accident Rate (FAR) is so bad that it’s not only 10 times worse than that of the United Kingdom, but had in fact deteriorated by 20 per cent since the turn of the century.
Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the Occupational Safety and Health Department’s (DOSH) statistics recorded 169 deaths and 3,911 accidents in the construction sector for 2018.
Lee urged that authorities should make its reports public in the interest of accountability, transparency and to create awareness. He said, “The public often hears about investigations being carried out by the authorities after a major accident but the findings are not made known. At the end of the day – lessons, be they preventive or remedial measures, remain unlearnt.”
Meanwhile, Senior Minister of Works Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof posted on his official Facebook stating that, “For the Works Ministry, safety issues in the workplace are very important to be taken into account and complied by every employee involved in construction works. They not only need to know and understand but need to fully implement before, during and after construction.
The incident could be avoided if all parties involved adhered to the correct work system and procedures based on the approved guidelines, and abided by the specifications and contract”.