Second man dies in Kaohsiung oil storage tank accident

01/16/2022 06:35 PM
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A view of the oil storage tank at Kaohsiung Port . Photo courtesy of Kaohsiung City Government.
A view of the oil storage tank at Kaohsiung Port . Photo courtesy of Kaohsiung City Government.

Kaohsiung, Jan. 15 (CNA) Two construction workers have died and six others were injured after a hydraulic jack malfunctioned and caused a scaffolding collapse inside a 40-meter by 30-meter oil storage tank at Kaohsiung Port on Saturday.

The death of the second worker, who had been left trapped inside the oil storage tank by the initial 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 declared dead after being taken to hospital. Six other workers were rushed to the hospital and were being treated for injuries including severe fractures and lacerations.

The workers had been employed by the Kaohsiung-based Yuan He Construction Co., which had received an outsourcing contract from another party to do construction work for China General Terminal and Distribution Corp. at the harbor.

Speaking with the press on Sunday, Fu Kung-chiao (傅孔交), the project manager of CTCI Corp., which contracted Yuan He, confirmed that two hydraulic jacks used to hold up the inner oil storage tank malfunctioned at around 4 p.m. Saturday and brought the scaffold, which was built up to a height of around 5 or 4 meters, crashing down.

The project manager refuted allegations that the workers were forced to work in a compromised environment, saying that safety checks before the construction work began revealed no problems and that mechanical issues only occurred later.

According to Hu Pao-yuan (胡寶元), the person in charge of Yuan He, the two deceased individuals had been working professionally for about 20 to 30 years.

On Sunday, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told the press that negligence from the companies was obvious, and, as a result, the workers' employers would be held legally responsible and could face criminal charges.

Work at the site is also suspended until the working environment has improved, Chen added, without specifying what improvements would be made.

Kaohsiung's Labor Affairs Bureau also said that it would seek to charge those responsible with a maximum fine of NT$300,000 (US$10,888) for violating occupational safety laws following a thorough investigation.

(By Tsai Meng-yu, Tseng yi-ning and James Lo)

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