Mother of Singapore boy who got electrocuted in shower cries every single day

Mother of Singapore boy who got electrocuted in shower cries every single day

"Check that the wiring for your heater is properly installed so that the same thing doesn't happen to your family."

It has been almost 2 years now. On the night of 29 November 2016, 15-year-old Tan Yao Bin had gone to take his shower. The family never saw him alive after that. The boy was found in the bathroom, motionless and unconscious. He had got electrocuted in shower.

His mother still cries every single day.

Boy electrocuted in shower due to faulty wiring

A coroner’s inquiry into Tan Yao Bin’s death has now revealed that it was faulty wiring that caused the tragedy.

In 2015, Yao Bin’s mother, Madam Zhang Aiyan, had decided to get a new water heater installed. This was after their Bukit Batok flat got renovated under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP).

A worker from JL Engineering Construction was given the task of installing the heater.

The water heater was wired to a three-pin plug and plugged into a normal wall socket. This was an error that proved to be fatal.

Water heaters should actually be wired directly to a special switch which is able to support higher current. Three-pin plugs and normal wall sockets are not designed to support the high current drawn by water heaters. 

It was found that the workers were unlicensed to do electrical work.

Also, the flat’s circuit breaker, which in normal circumstances would have cut off the electrical supply, was faulty as well. This is why the supervisor had failed to detect a problem when he tested the wiring and circuit breaker.

Precautions home owners need to take

Sadly, a young life was lost, far too soon.

Three days following Yao Bin’s death, the family rewired the whole house and replaced its circuit breaker. 

electrocuted in shower

Empty water heater slot in their home now. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB The Straits Times

Yao Bin’s older brother, Mr Tan Qi Wei, told The Straits Times, “I hope that if anything comes out of this incident, it is that home owners can be reminded of the responsibility they have.”

The worker responsible for the faulty connection has revealed that he had seen many water heaters in HDB blocks connected to three-pin plugs.

The Housing Board now advises home owners to take these precautions:

  • Do not wire a three-pin plug to a water heater.

Three-pin plugs cannot support the high current drawn by water heaters. They can support currents of only up to 13A, and water heaters draw currents of up to 20A.

Water heaters should instead be wired to a double-pole switch rated at 20A.

  • Test your circuit breaker.

Home owners are advised to test their circuit breakers every month. This is done by pushing its test button on your home’s distribution box. It should trip when the button is pressed.

electrocuted in shower

Some other precautions to take at home to prevent electrical hazards are:

  • Always employ a licensed electrician to install or repair electrical wiring

This is to ensure compliance with electrical safety codes and prevent injuries and future accidents.

  • Never mix water and electricity

Always keep electrical appliances away from water and moisture. If a plugged-in appliance falls into water, do not attempt to retrieve it or check whether it’s working.

Go immediately to your home’s panel board and shut off power. When that’s done, the appliance can be safely unplugged and removed from the water.

Once the device has dried thoroughly, you should have an electrician evaluate whether or not it’s fit for continued use.

  • Listen to your appliances

When an appliance repeatedly trips a circuit breaker, blows a fuse, or gives you shocks, have it inspected by an electrician as early as possible.

  • Remember to use safety covers for outlets, if there are young children or pets at home.

(Source: The Straits Times)

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