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SINGAPORE: A 48-year-old engineer died on Friday morning (Apr 8) after falling seven storeys at the CapitaSpring building in the central business district.

“A 48-year-old local engineer was working on the maintenance level above the 16th floor of the building when she stepped on a false ceiling panel,” a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) spokesperson said on Saturday. 

“The panel gave way under her weight, causing her to fall about 30m. She landed on the ninth floor and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

“As a general safety measure, fragile surfaces should be marked clearly and conspicuously to warn of the risk of falling from height.”

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it received a call for assistance at about 11am on Friday, and the person was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic. 

The woman was an employee of Dragages Singapore, a contractor of CapitaSpring, said a spokesperson for the office building’s management.

“We are saddened by the passing of an employee of our contractor Dragages Singapore due to an incident involving a fall from height in the building on Friday. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of our contractor’s late employee and we are extending our assistance to the family,” said CapitaSpring. 

“Workplace safety is of utmost importance to us and we require all contractors and vendors to use appropriate equipment and follow safety procedures. We are giving our full cooperation to the authorities in their investigations of the incident.”

MOM said it is investigating the accident and has instructed the occupier of CapitaSpring, Ascott International Management, to stop all access to the maintenance level.

This is the 11th workplace fatality this year and it follows several incidents last year involving falls from height, said the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) assistant secretary-general Melvin Yong.

“I’m deeply saddened to learn that another worker’s life was lost due to a fall from height,” he said in a Facebook post on Saturday. “We need to put in place specific measures quickly to prevent similar accidents from happening.”

Mr Yong added that it is important for the building’s design team to consciously assess the need for facilities maintenance activities in the void areas above any false ceiling panels.

“Such panels are not typically load-bearing and there has to be specific ways designed to facilitate work required on top of these panels,” he wrote.

“If any activities are required, then the design has to incorporate safe catwalks – ideally with reflective low light emitting tapes – and work platforms, to ensure such activities can be carried out safely and also to deter anyone from stepping on false ceiling panels. Proper risk assessment also has to be done prior to start of work.  

“This process is a shared responsibility for all stakeholders – developers, contractors or designers. I call on everyone to do our part, and learn from past accidents so that we prevent future ones from occurring.”

CapitaSpring, located at 88 Market Street, is a new 51-storey integrated development that was completed in 2021.