Employee hurt as chair gives way losing a wheel

, National 2 minutes, 24 seconds


A YOUNG woman was admitted to hospital for injuries on Wednesday after a seemingly innocuous fall when the chair she was sitting on came apart. The incident happened at the victim's workplace at Jln Sungai in Kuala Belait, which The Brunei Times visited yesterday to speak with employees.

Colleagues familiar with the injured woman described her seating position in the confined office space as inconvenient for people’s movement, saying that she had to move her chair sideways or forward to allow colleagues to pass.

“Possibly due to this repeated movement and her sitting position, one of the wheels of her chair broke off causing the chair to fall backwards and sending the victim crashing to the floor,” said a female eyewitness, preferring to remain anonymous.

“She was unable to stand for some time and her whole body was trembling from the pain,” she said.

After the fall, a company first-aider hurried to the scene but was unable to give immediate help, prompting the general manager to make an emergency call to the hospital. The ambulance arrived soon after and she taken to the hospital for examination.

At the hospital, X-ray tests showed no serious injury to the bone and the woman was prescribed painkillers and discharged. However, the victim complained of extreme pain when touched near the injury and could barely walk at that time.

When The Brunei Times contacted the victim, she was recuperating at home with slight pain around her coccyx, which she said she had injured in a previous accident. She was only issued a one-day medical certificate by the hospital but her company allowed her several days to rest and recuperate before returning to work.

A male employee said that the company would make a “learning incident” after a complete investigation. A “learning incident” is a meeting called by the management to share information with its employees when an accident happens in the company, regardless of its scale.

“Initially, we thought that the chair was the cause. However, it is still fairly new and a lot of other employees are using a similar type,” he said.

“Thus we are looking at probably repositioning the tables and cupboards in the office room, and hope that the learning incident – which will occur during our next health, safety and environment (HSE) meeting – will raise awareness about safety in the office.”

The man added that the company regarded HSE-related matters as top priority. It has a compulsory Work Improvement Suggestion (WIS) mechanism in which employees submit ideas for the betterment of their working environment; the ideas are reviewed by the management every month.

Suggestions were in fact made recently to replace the chairs in the company as some employees were using older ones. The chair that broke in the incident was one of the few new chairs brought in as replacement under the company's WIS mechanism.

The Brunei Times