TL;DR – Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
A fire broke out at a factory in Tuas on Saturday. A video showed thick plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.
In a Facebook post, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that they deployed eight water jets, one unmanned firefighting machine and one aerial firefighting platform to the scene.
Even though it was reported that the workers were evacuated, two foreign workers from China were seriously injured in the fire.
According to the latest CNA report, the two injured workers are a 27-year-old worker from Shandong who sustained burns to 66% of his body and a 39-year-old from Jiangsu who suffered 90% burns. They are currently both in the Intensive Care Unit at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
Life of a foreign worker isn’t a bed of roses
Foreign workers often give up a lot to work in Singapore. They are away from their friends, their families and loved ones. They work and live in a place they’re not familiar with, and often have to toil work long hours under the blisteringly hot sun and sometimes in very uncomfortable conditions. They usually only rest one day a week. And when they get the rare chance to rest and to spend time around town, they sometimes have to put up with the dirty looks some Singaporeans give them.
What we often forget, or pretend to be blissfully ignorant of, is that these migrant workers often do backbreaking work that Singaporeans don’t want to do. And they do it at a salary that no Singaporeans will take. These foreign workers supplement our local workforce.
Worse if they get injured
That’s why we owe it to them to make sure that they work in a healthy and safe environment. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, accidents still happen. A local who gets injured in an accident will already have a tough time recovering. But at least he will have his family and other circles of support to help him through the recovery process.
A foreign worker who gets injured in a workplace incident won’t get that luxury. Their income might not be enough to cover the medical expenses. This is where the employers, strong labour laws and organisations like the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) and HOME can come in.
MWC’s chairman, Yeo Guat Kwang, has contacted the two injured workers’ company, which has indicated that it is committed to ensuring that they receive the necessary care. Yeo said,
“In this respect, the employer must sign on the hospital’s Letter of Guarantee as well as file the Accident Report and Work Injury Compensation Claims for both workers.”
Yeo added that the MWC will continue to monitor the employer’s compliance with these areas. Furthermore, since these two workers are in such critical condition, the MWC has also been in touch with the Chinese Embassy. We understand that arrangements are being made for the workers’ families to travel to Singapore.
Let’s hope they get well soon
The MWC has shared with us their concern and anxiety about the two workers’ “very critical condition” and we share their worry. We hope that their next of kin can reach Singapore soon to be with them and help them get back on their feet.
Our thoughts and prayers are with them.