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Falling concrete kills one worker [Source: Bangkok Post]

The Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat) has suspended construction of the Rama III-Dao Khanong-Western Bangkok Outer Ring Road expressway for a full week while investigating a fresh accident at the Rama II section in which a sizeable concrete slab fell down, killing one worker and injuring another on Sunday.

Both workers were standing on a precast concrete beam when it fell off the structure on Sunday afternoon, killing one of them and slightly injuring the other, said Somchai Auecharuphon, an inspector at the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare (DLPW), citing results of a preliminary probe into Sunday's incident.

The falling beam had also resulted in about eight cars on Rama II Road being damaged, he said.

"The preliminary investigation also pointed to some flaws with a sling of steel rope used in lifting the concrete beam to be laid onto the expressway's structure as a possible cause of the accident," Mr Somchai said.

The sling suddenly fell off a lifting crane resulting in the concrete beam and the two workers falling to the ground, he said, adding that a team of engineers are examining the incident more thoroughly to find out the exact cause of the accident.

The actual cause of the accident is expected to be known within a week, and construction of the expressway has been suspended in the meantime, said Exat governor Surachet Laophulsuk yesterday.

The dead worker's family and injured victim, as well as other damaged parties, will be fully compensated, he said.

"The remaining structure of the expressway had already passed a safety re-check after Sunday's incident before traffic on that particular section of Rama II Road was allowed to resume," he said.

"The part of the expressway in question is being built by CTB Joint Venture, comprising China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd, Tipakorn Co Ltd and Buriram Thongchai Construction Co Ltd."

Dashboard cam footage from a car on the outbound side of Rama II Road, near a HomePro branch in Bangkok's Bang Khun Thian district, showed a large concrete slab falling onto the island in the centre of the road at about 4.30pm killing a worker and damaging four cars.

The driver, Puriwat Peng-ampai, 38, said he heard a noise above him and then a huge concrete slab tilted and fell down.

The DLPW is also carrying out an investigation to find out if Sunday's incident was the result of negligence or broken equipment, said Mr Somchai.

And if it turns out to be a failure by either the contractor or Exat or both to ensure sufficient safety measures that was actually to blame, the parties concerned might face charges for breaking occupational health and working environment law, which carries a maximum prison term of one year and/or a maximum fine of 400,000 baht, he said.

Pol Lt Col Thotsaphon Pankan, the chief investigator of Tha Kham police station, said no one had been charged in connection with Sunday's incident just while all sides continue with efforts to find out the real cause of the death.

The accident wasn't the first such incident involving the construction of the expressway over Rama II Road.

On the night of July 31, 2022, for instance, a five-tonne, 10-metre-long concrete beam fell off the U-turn bridge and plunged onto a car, also damaging a pickup truck, killing two people and injuring five others.

The bridge is outside Vibharam Hospital in Samut Sakhon's Muang district.

Source: Bangkok Post

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