KAOHSIUNG, Jan 15 (CNA) – Two construction workers have died and six others were injured after a hydraulic jack in a 40-by-30-meter oil storage tank malfunctioned at the port of Kaohsiung on Saturday, causing scaffolding to collapse.
The death of the second worker trapped in the oil tank in the first accident was confirmed by city officials on Sunday.
On Saturday, a man surnamed Chung (鍾) showed no signs of life at the scene and was later pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. Six other workers were taken to hospital and treated for injuries, including serious fractures and lacerations.
The workers were employed by Kaohsiung-based Yuan He Construction Co., which had been awarded an outsourcing contract by another party to carry out construction work for China General Terminal and Distribution Corp. to be carried out at the port.
Speaking to the press on Sunday, Fu Kung-chiao (傅孔交), the project manager of CTCI Corp., which Yuan He commissioned, confirmed that two hydraulic jacks used to hold the inner oil storage tank were released around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday clock malfunctioned and brought down the scaffolding that had been erected at a height of about 5 to 4 meters.
The project leader dismissed allegations that workers were forced to work in a compromised environment, saying safety checks before construction began revealed no problems and that mechanical problems emerged later.
According to Hu Pao-yuan (胡寶元), the person in charge of Yuan He, the two deceased worked professionally for about 20 to 30 years.
On Sunday, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told the press that the companies’ negligence was obvious and workers’ employers would therefore be held legally responsible and could be prosecuted.
Work at the site will also be suspended until the working environment improves, Chen added, without specifying what improvements would be made.
The Kaohsiung Labor Affairs Bureau also said that after a thorough investigation, it would seek to impose a maximum fine of NT$300,000 (US$10,888) on those responsible for violating labor safety laws.