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SINGAPORE: A technician who bled to death after becoming trapped in a lift shaft had triggered the automated movement of the lift before his colleague could put it into safety mode, a coroner has found.

In findings dated Tuesday (May 10), Coroner Christopher Goh said the faulty “up” button in the control box meant that the lift car had to be controlled from the control room located elsewhere.

“As there was no direct line of sight between the two locations, this would be some danger,” he said.

Mr Hossain Mohammad Sahid, 29, a Bangladeshi contractor, died of haemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to his left arm on Feb 27 last year.

He and two other colleagues were performing repairs at the Chan Brothers Building at 452 North Bridge Road when the incident happened.

One colleague was controlling the lift car from the control room, while the other was in the lift car. Both were unharmed in the incident.

Mr Hossain was on top of the lift car, and was supposed to call his colleague in the control room to give him instructions to move the lift up or down.

At the time of the incident, Mr Hossain had just passed a tool to his colleague in the lift car through the lift doors. The other colleague in the control room was giving him instructions on the lift settings.

However, before the colleague in the control room could finish speaking to him, Mr Hossain flipped the switch in the control panel at the top of the lift car to “normal”.

He did this before his colleague in the control room could flip the switch there to “inspection” mode. This triggered the automated movement of the lift car, which ascended to the nearest floor.

As a result, Mr Hossain’s left arm was trapped between the lift car and the lift shaft, around the second and third levels of the building. This happened at about 11am.

When the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived, they assessed that Mr Hossain’s rib cage, left arm and left leg were trapped. His left arm had sustained a deep cut and was bleeding.

However, the confined space of the lift shaft hindered rescue efforts and the administration of effective medical treatment, the coroner found.

Various options, including amputation, were considered to extricate Mr Hossain, but were also impeded by the confined space.

Continued attempts were made to free him, but at about 3.45pm, checks found that he no longer had a pulse and was not breathing.

Mr Hossain was pronounced dead more than four hours after first becoming trapped in the lift shaft.

SCDF eventually managed to extricate his body at about 5.35pm that day.

“The faulty ‘up’ button on the lift car should have caused all work on the lift to halt,” said the coroner.

“This is so because to continue operating the lift car would require two persons operating controls and different positions, without a line of sight to each other.

“This would increase the chances of an accident occurring, as in the present case.”