Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, January 26, 2009

Korean foreman latest Hanjin work site fatality

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—A 51-year old Korean on Sunday became the latest fatality in the string of accidents that has hounded the shipbuilding facility of Hanjin Heavy Industries Co.-Philippines (HHIC-Phil) since the $1.7-billion shipyard began operations in 2006 at the Redondo Peninsula here.

Choi Dong Baek, who was employed as a foreman by Greenbeach Power Corp., a subcontractor of HHIC-Phil, died in a hospital in San Marcelino, Zambales, at about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday after a forklift ran over him at the Hanjin facility’s Assembly Shop C.

Choi’s death came just two days after another Filipino worker, 19-year-old Raldon del Rosario, perished at the shipbuilding site when an 800-kilogram curtain door assembly toppled while being tested by Great Steel Construction, another subcontractor.

SBMA investigators, who interviewed witnesses at Sunday’s accident site, reported that the incident happened at about 1:50 a.m., as workers were cleaning up after a basketball game during the midnight break.

Choi reportedly picked up the ball and was kicking it about like a soccer ball, when it rolled onto the path of the moving forklift.

Menti Dacanay, a Filipino rigger working for free port I-Tech Corp., also a subcontractor, was driving the forklift to replace the movable basketball stand.

Choi reportedly tried to retrieve the ball, but he was hit by the maneuvering forklift, which subsequently dragged and ran over the victim.

Investigators noted that Dacanay was not licensed to drive the forklift, while Pyeong Jong Yu, deputy managing director of HHIC-Phil, said Dacanay used the equipment “without getting any instruction from either Korean or Filipino foremen.”

“We are still trying to verify how he got the key of the unit, since the key should have been kept in the toolbox container,” Yu said in an accident report sent to the SBMA.

Choi became the 19th fatality at the Hanjin shipyard, where accidents¬—15 of them construction-related—had so far claimed the lives of 18 Filipino workers since 2006. Written by Henry Empeño - Busimess Mirror

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