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Singapore Water Agency: One worker dead, two in ICU after inhaling toxic gas at Choa Chu Kang water plant

SINGAPORE, May 23 – One worker died and two others are in intensive care after collapsing during routine tank cleaning at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks on Thursday morning (May 23).

In a statement on Thursday, national water agency PUB said the three men are subcontractors and were found unconscious at around 11.15am at Singapore’s second-largest water plant, along Nanyang Drive.

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“Preliminary investigations indicate that the workers had inhaled hydrogen sulfide, a gas produced from sludge that is a byproduct of the water treatment process,” the PUB said.

Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, extremely flammable and highly toxic gas. It is known for its strong smell of rotten eggs.

PUB said the three workers were taken unconscious to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

One of the workers died in hospital, while the other two are still in intensive care.

“PUB expresses our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased,” he said, adding that it is in contact with its contractors and will provide support to the workers’ families.

“Safety and health in all our workplaces is of utmost importance to PUB. We will cooperate fully with the investigation,” PUB said.

“As a precaution, PUB has called a safety timeout for similar operations in confined spaces and is reviewing associated safety measures.”

In response to TODAY’s questions, the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the incident at around 11.25am on Thursday.

“SCDF firefighters and Hazardous Material specialists wearing personal protective equipment, including breathing apparatus, entered the facility and identified the presence of a hazardous vapor, hydrogen sulfide,” the SCDF said.

Two jets of water were used to disperse the steam.

The three workers were unconscious on the way to the hospital and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) had to be performed on one of them.

SCDF did not indicate whether the worker who died was the same one who received CPR.

After one hour of using the water jets, no hydrogen sulfide was detected at the site, the SCDF added. – TODAY

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