Thu, 13 June 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Bangladeshi worker, paralysed after falling 3.7m at Westgate Tower, gets $971,000 compensation

Update : 11 Mar 2023, 14:36

More than four years after a Bangladeshi worker was paralysed from the neck down following a fall from a height of 3.7m at work, he has been awarded $971,000 in damages from the subsidiary management corporation, or MCST, of Westgate Tower, Singapore.

Janaed, who goes by one name and is now 47, suffered spinal injuries after he fell while inspecting an overhead chiller in a mechanical and electrical room at the office tower in Jurong East on Nov 8, 2018.

His formal employer, Newtec Engineering, is facing charges in court for not having the required insurance for him and for failing to pay his medical bills.

Part of the agreed compensation will go towards paying $149,281.20 to the National University Hospital (NUH) and $58,081.09 to Alexandra Hospital, as stated in a court judgment dated Feb 10.

Janaed, who is now in Bangladesh, spent 91 days at NUH and 152 days at Alexandra Hospital after the accident.

He had been engaged by STA Rita Engineering Services, an air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation services company, to inspect the chiller at Westgate Tower.

He used a fireman’s ladder to climb to the top of the chiller in the mechanical and electrical room.

While standing on top of the chiller, he used his mobile phone to take photos of one of the switches.

He was holding his phone in one hand and using the other hand to zoom in for a close-up photo of the flow switch before he fell.

There were no guard rails at the top of the chiller, and Mr Janaed did not use any safety harness or belt.

Represented by Hoh Law Corp’s lawyer N. Srinivasan, he sued four parties for negligence in the High Court: Newtec Engineering; Mr Felizardo Paras Jose, Mr Janaed’s de facto employer and the owner of STA Rita Engineering Services; the MCST responsible for the maintenance of Westgate Tower; and Zoe International, the main contractor for air-conditioning and ventilation work at the office tower.

Zoe International subcontracted part or all of its work to STA Rita Engineering Services.

The Court of Appeal in June 2022 dismissed the appeal by the MCST over its joint 70 per cent liability with subcontractor STA Rita Engineering Services for the negligence that caused the accident.

Mr Janaed, who also appealed, failed to reduce the High Court’s finding in August 2021 that he was 30 per cent to blame for the incident.

A separate lawsuit filed by his brother, Mr Jahid, 43, is ongoing.

Mr Jahid, who is also in Bangladesh, suffered leg injuries after he fell more than 3m while doing air-conditioning maintenance work at a Starbucks outlet at United Square mall on April 7, 2018.

He is also represented by Mr Srinivasan, and he sued Mr Jose, Zoe International, Starbucks Coffee Singapore and UOL Property Investments in October 2019.

A district court last July found all four defendants 70 per cent liable for negligence and Mr Jahid 30 per cent liable.

The amount of damages will be decided at a later date.

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