Worker Settles Heatstroke Suit With Ex-boss

Source: The Straits Times, Wednesday 3 August 2011

A Chinese carpenter, who sued for damages amounting $360,200 after he collapsed from heatstroke at work, has reached a settlement with his former employer on liability issue.

According to the news report, the carpenter came to Singapore at the end of April last year and started work immediately after his arrival. While working in a condominium site, he lost consciousness and his head hit against a hard surface after he collapsed from heatstroke. As the carpenter came from his hometown with cooler weather of 15 deg C to 18 deg C, he felt that he was not given time to acclimatize to the local humid weather.

After the accident, he was unable to talk and requires help in performing basic daily functions. He is also unable to work again.

Our thoughts:

Measures to prevent heat stress:

  • Install local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems
  • Educate employees on the awareness of heat stress
  • Employees should hydrate themselves with plenty of water
  • Supervisors trained to detect early signs of heat stress and take prevention actions
  • Employers should factor in employees’ physical conditions and minimize their skin exposure to the sun

In case you detect a victim:

  • activate relevant emergency response
  • immediately move him to a cool area
  • wet the victim’s clothes with cool water

Compensation For Death On Work Trip

Source: The Straits Times, Tuesday 06 September 2011

The high court has ruled that the widow of a general manager, who died in Cambodia while waiting in a hotel room to be taken to a meeting, qualifies for workmen’s compensation.

According to the news report, the judge ruled that the deceased’s death from a likely heart attack, was an accident that happened in the course of employment even though the Commissioner for Labour’s decision was that the death was not work related and the insurer also contested the appeal by the widow.

It was reported that the deceased represented his firm and went to Cambodia to attend an anniversary dinner of its client. He was found dead in his hotel room the next day when an official went to his hotel to take him to a meeting.

Following the judgement, the deceased family stands to be compensated up to $140,000 under the Act since the judge ruled that the deceased’s entire trip was a working one with no leisure activities planned. The judge even commented that  even if leisure activites were included as part of the programme, so long as they were sanctioned by the employer, they would not amount to a breach in employment.

Our Thoughts:

Under Work Injury Compensation Benefits, compensation is payable when:

  •  an employee who is residing in Singapore and employed by an employer in Singapore, meets with an accident in a place outside Singapore where he is required to work
  • an employee suffers personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment
  • an employee meets with an accident while traveling as a passenger to and from his place of work in a vehicle operated by or on behalf of his employer

For more information on the Work Injury Compensation, please refer to the MOM website.