BUTERWORTH: MTUC Penang is calling on the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) to conduct a thorough investigation into the collapse of a section of the ramp connecting the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to the second Penang Bridge in Batu Maung.
Its secretary K. Veeriah said the MTUC wanted to know if acceptable safety measures and standard operating procedures (SOP) had been strictly observed during the construction process.
He said MTUC was saddened by the incident and sympathised with the three persons who were injured.
"It is utmost crucial especially in the construction industry for necessary safety measures to be taken seriously.
"We are shocked by recent incidences involving the construction industry.
"In March, there was an unused flyover near the Selangor Science Park 2 Interchange in Cyberjaya that collapsed and early this month, a crane collapses on a construction site in Seri Kembangan, Selangor.
"The Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin stadium in Trengganu collapsed for the second time when a steel structure holding up the roof collapsed and injured five workers in February," he said in an interview .
Veeriah said he believed the ramp collapse incident would be classified as an industrial accident and urged the relevant authorities to step up enforcement on safety measures in all construction sites.
He also took to task the contractors of the second Penang Bridge for not diverting traffic to a safe distance away from the construction site so that the public would not be exposed to any risk while construction work ongoing there.
"The contractor should have also carried out necessary work during off-peak hours by closing off the particular section to traffic.
"There are a few alternative roads near the site where the traffic could have been diverted, to protect the safety of motorists travelling in the area," he said.
Veeriah recalled the tragedies during the construction of the first Penang Bridge in the early 80s, where 20 workers died while it was being constructed, including the incident on Oct 20, 1984, when five were killed when a crossbeam collapsed.
Knowing that such risks could happen, he stressed, that the contractors of the second Penang Bridge project should have taken extra pre-cautionary measures to avert such incidences from happening.
By DERRICK VINESH