Two construction workers have died and six were hurt after a hydraulic jack malfunctioned and caused scaffolding to collapse inside a 40m by 30m oil storage tank at the Port of Kaohsiung on Saturday.
The death of the second worker, who had been trapped inside the oil storage tank, was confirmed by city officials on Sunday.
A man surnamed Chung (鍾) showed no signs of life at the scene on Saturday, and was declared dead after being taken to hospital.
Six other workers were rushed to hospital and were treated for injuries including severe fractures and lacerations.
The workers are employed by Kaohsiung-based Yuan He Construction Co (元合工程行), which was contracted by CTCI Corp to do construction work at the harbor for China General Terminal and Distribution Corp.
CTCI Corp project manager Fu Kung-chiao (傅孔交) on Sunday said that two hydraulic jacks used to hold up an inner oil storage tank had malfunctioned at about 4pm on Saturday, bringing the scaffolding, which was 4m to 55m high, crashing down.
Fu rejected allegations that the workers were forced to work in a compromised environment, saying that safety checks before construction work began revealed no problems and the mechanical issues only occurred later.
Yuan He owner Hu Pao-yuan (胡寶元) said that the two deceased people had been working professionally for about 20 to 30 years.
On Sunday, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that there was obvious negligence, and the workers’ employers would be held responsible and could face criminal charges.
Work at the site has been suspended until the working conditions are improved, Chen added, without specifying what improvements would be made.
The Kaohsiung Labor Affairs Bureau said that it would seek to charge those responsible following a thorough investigation, fining them up to NT$300,000 for contravening occupational safety laws.
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