Worker killed as tower collapses

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 December, 2009, 12:00am

An abandoned rock-crushing tower in a Sau Mau Ping quarry site collapsed while being dismantled yesterday, killing one worker and injuring two others.

The accident at the Anderson Road site happened at about 1.30pm when a crane was lifting a silo storage bin at the tower, which is made up of a steel frame. The bin was originally used to hold rocks for crushing. As it was lifted, the tower collapsed.

'The contractor was dismantling a five-metre-high unused rock-crushing tower within the quarry site. The tower collapsed during the process,' a Civil Engineering and Development Department spokeswoman said.

A 60-year-old man who was working under the tower suffered serious injuries. He died at about 6pm at United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong.

The other two workers, aged 50 and 51, sustained injuries to their limbs and were in stable condition last night. They were standing on the structure at the time of the accident.

Firefighters used life detectors to check whether any worker was buried under the collapsed equipment.

Police Inspector Alan Tuan Ngar-lun of the Sau Mau Ping division said the rock-crushing tower had been inactive for years and that the workers were doing clearance work.

'There is no evidence suggesting anything was being crushed when the accident happened,' Tuan said.

Choi Chun-wah, chairman of the Construction Industry Employees' General Union, said the employer should have set up a new and strong work platform for workers to dismantle the tower instead of allowing them to use its standing area.

'The tower has been abandoned for about 10 years and its frame is rusty and fragile,' Choi said. 'Workers should not have stood there to carry out clearance work.

'Employers should provide a safe environment and facilities for the workers by building a new work platform so that they can perform their duties safely.

'The workers' safety awareness was so weak that they just climbed up there to work instead of demanding safety measures.'

Officers from the Labour Department and the Civil Engineering and Development Department were sent to the scene to inspect the site and conduct an investigation. The name of the contractor has not been revealed.

Clearance work at the site has been suspended until further notice.