KUALA LUMPUR, March 23– After the last fatal accident on the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Highway (SUKE) three weeks ago, disaster struck again when a launcher crane tipped over at a construction site this morning, making it a nightmare for road users plying the 31.8-kilometer highway.
Three Chinese national construction workers were killed and another road user was injured in the incident which occurred at Persiaran Alam Damai today.
Have the highway developers not learned from the previous incident by implementing proactive measures to prevent further loss of life?
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) road safety specialist Prof Dr Law Teik Hua said such incidents should not be repeated as the government had already given a reminder to improve safety at highway construction sites.
“This is a repeat of a safety mishap involving several casualties, which is very disappointing.
“What’s worrying is the victims involved were not only construction site workers but also members of the public who pass by the area,” he told Bernama here today.
As such he said, the project developers need to review the existing standard operating procedures (SOP), identify and strengthen any weaknesses to ensure that accidents do not recur.
“If we ask the road users to be careful when passing through the areas under construction, how would they know when a crane structure is going to collapse and crush on them?
“It is the responsibility of the developer to prevent such accidents from happening,” he said.
At the same time, Law also recommended that contra roads or alternative routes be created for road users, as an immediate safety measure.
Meanwhile, commenting on the proposal to impose heavy fines and penalties on developers for negligence, Law said, the move would not solve the problem of accidents at construction sites.
“After they (developers) pay the fine, where is the (safety) assurance to road users,” he asked.
On March 3, two women died while three others were severely injured after the van they were travelling in was crushed when a trailer crashed into the iron scaffolding of the highway near Desa Tun Razak.
Earlier in September last year a woman escaped death when a concrete slab from the ongoing SUKE Highway construction fell and hit the car she was travelling in, at the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2).
In the 8.45am incident today, three workers of the highway construction project died, two were believed to have fallen from a height of about 36.5 meters after a crane launcher on the highway fell on top of a Perodua Bezza car which left the driver seriously injured.
Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Malaysian Institute of Transport, Corporate Communication and Industrial Linkages head, Dr Irwan Ibrahim said, various factors could lead to crane accidents at construction sites.
“A study of crane accidents at construction sites in Malaysia by researchers from Universiti Tun Hussein Onn and Universiti Sains Malaysia in 2019 found that the main causes were due to operational and technical factors.
“The elements that contribute to the accidents were structural and mechanical failure of the crane components, while other factors include safety management aspects, human factors and environmental issues,” he said.