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Dust explosion kills three, critically injures five others in Singapore

26 February 2021

A combustible dust explosion killed three people and critically injured five others in Tuas, Singapore on February 24. In all, 10 people were initially injured by the explosion, however three people died from their injuries on February 25. Five people remain in hospital in critical conditions while two others have been released.

Image: Singapore Civil Defence Force
Image: Singapore Civil Defence Force

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower said the blast happened in the industrialised Tuas area in the west of the city-state. The incident occurred in a unit belonging to Stars Ergng. The Ministry added that around 65 people were removed from the local area as a precaution following the explosion.

News site CNA reports that a preliminary investigation showed that the incident was a combustible dust explosion. The dust is believed to have been in the form of potato starch powder which is used for production at the site.

In a statement, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said its firefighters arrived at the scene to find a smoke-logged building. SCDF firefighters entered the building wearing breathing apparatus and saw that a fire had started involving an industrial mixer.

The injured workers were taken to the Singapore General Hospital where they received treatment for burn injuries. SCDF said it has started an investigation into the cause of the fire and explosion.

CNA reports that the deceased workers are yet to be identified due to the extensive injuries they sustained. The Workplace Safety and Health Council has called for a “safety time-out” to last a half or full day. The time-out would allow businesses to inspect machines and processes to see whether machinery is well-maintained and being correctly used.

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