Prosecutors yesterday wrapped up a two-month investigation and announced the indictments of 10 individuals, including officials and technical staff of a contracting company, in an April 10 steel girder incident in Taichung that left four people dead and four injured.
The incident occurred during the construction of an elevated section of the Taichung MRT’s Green Line.
A 209-tonne curved box girder fell from a height of about three stories onto a busy road just after 5pm during the late afternoon rush hour, reports said.
Yesterday’s indictments by the Taichung District Prosecutors’ Office cited human error, a lack of worksite supervision and dereliction of duty in breaches of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (職業安全衛生法) and charges of professional negligence causing death (業務過失致死罪).
Among the primary causes of the fatal incident was a decision reached by company officials, site supervisors and technical staff to not install a temporary support frame for the girder, prosecutors said, in what officials described as an attempt to reduce expenditure and accelerate the work schedule.
Without the temporary support frame, crews were unable to balance the weight of the curved box girder properly when hoisting it onto the concrete pillars, which led to the collapse.
Leading the list of indictments was Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) associate engineer Wang Chi-shen (王起森), who was in overall charge of supervision at the work site.
The Taichung MRT project was commissioned to DORTS, due to its experience planning and constructing the Taipei system.
Prosecutors charged Wang with neglecting his supervisory duties, as he was not at the work site on the day of the accident.
Wang also faces forgery charges, with officials saying he altered daily inspection reports 10 days later on April 20 in an attempt to falsify work supervision records.
Prosecutors also said that Wang failed to report and stop numerous breaches of safety rules by contractors, including hoisting steel girders during the day, a task which the city’s regulations stipulate can be performed only between 11:30pm and 5:30am.
The other individuals charged were officials, staff and workers of the contractors, which included Far Eastern Construction Co, China Steel Structure Co, Bi Jie Hoist Co and Chin Yi Co.
In the statement announcing the indictments, prosecutors cited numerous instances of negligence, inadequate supervision, breaches of safety regulations and the contravening of professional work standards at all organizational levels ranging from DORTS engineers overseeing construction, to contracting firm supervisors and work site crews.
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