Coroner finds no foul play after technician bled to death while stuck in elevator shaft for more than 4 hours
SINGAPORE – While carrying out repair work on the top of an elevator car at the Chan Brothers building along North Bridge Road, Hossain Mohammad Sahid became pinned against the elevator guide structure when the elevator car is up.
Authorities were unable to provide effective medical treatment for his injuries, including a 30cm by 10cm gash on his left arm, due to the confined space, which also hampered Defense Force efforts. Singapore Civil Service (SCDF) to release the foreign worker.
Hossain, 29, eventually bled to death after being trapped for more than four hours.
On Tuesday May 10, coroner Christopher Goh published his official conclusions on the death of the Bangladeshi, judging that it was an unfortunate misadventure.
The coroner also said there was no evidence of foul play, but noted that the accident could have been avoided as all work should have stopped when a faulty “up” button on the housing of elevator control was discovered.
Hossain was working for lift contractor Decor Engineering at the time of his death on February 27 last year. He participated in the repair of an elevator wall panel in the Chan Brothers building.
He asked a colleague, Rafiqul, to enter the elevator car to see if the panels were aligned, while he tightened screws from the top of the elevator car.
The elevator was brought to the first floor and Hossain accessed the top of the elevator car from the second floor.
A worker identified only as Wong, whose job it was to control the movement of the elevator car, told coroner’s court that he tested the ‘up’ and ‘down’ buttons on the elevator housing. elevator control. He discovered that the “up” button was faulty.
Wong claimed Hossain then asked him to control the elevator from the elevator control room instead, and suggested they communicate via WhatsApp call.
In his inquest findings, Coroner Goh said the Department of Manpower felt work should not have continued if the “up” button was faulty. Indeed, there was no direct line of sight between the elevator control room and the elevator car.
Wong also claimed that during the repair work, Hossain said he wanted to pass a tool to Rafiqul who was in the elevator car. This done, Hossain wanted to resume the repairs.
Wong started telling him what to do with the elevator settings on top of the elevator car.
However, Hossain then flipped the switch located on the elevator control panel on top of the elevator car to “normal” mode, before Wong could flip the switch to “inspection” mode in the elevator control room.
The elevator car started moving. Wong then heard a loud scream coming from the elevator shaft, so he changed the elevator setting to “inspection” and cut the power.
It was around 11 a.m. according to the call logs.
Meanwhile, Rafiqul felt the elevator car descend slightly and heard Hossain shout “Stop!” Stop! Stop”.
Wong went to the third floor to check on Hossain, whose hand was stuck between the guide rail bracket and the elevator car.
Wong then managed to free Rafiqul from inside the elevator car before police and SCDF officers arrived on the scene.
When the SCDF fire crew entered the elevator shaft, they saw that Hossain’s rib cage, left arm and left leg were trapped by the elevator car and parts of the shaft. His arm was also bleeding from a deep cut.
Since the team did not have the proper equipment to extricate Hossain, they activated their disaster and fire rescue team. Hossain was still conscious but was struggling to breathe at this point.
However, the fire and disaster relief team’s efforts to get Hossain out were hampered by the confined space of the elevator shaft.
When the team activated a medical support team from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, a doctor managed to insert an intravenous drip into Hossain’s right arm and administer painkillers and medication.
The doctor was unable to treat Hossain’s arm due to its position.
Coroner Goh noted that “various medical options were considered, including field amputation” in order to get Hossain out, but the confined space of the elevator shaft also made them impossible.
Hossain became unresponsive around 3:45 p.m. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was not possible due to his upright position, and it was dangerous to perform defibrillation due to the metallic material of the cabin and the elevator shaft.
He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
SCDF managed to free his body approximately two hours later. His death was certified as hemorrhage due to blunt trauma to the left arm.