Punggol Parcvista, Sumang Link, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

The fatal fall to the ground of an Indonesian domestic worker from a third-floor flat, as she cleaned its windows, was ruled an “unfortunate misadventure” by a Singapore court on Friday.

Ella Wahyu Setyaningrum, 25, started working as a domestic worker in the city state last November. On November 24, she began working for an employer in a house at Punggol Parcvista, in Sumang Link.

Setyaningrum was asked by her employer’s 36-year-old daughter to clean the windows of the flat on December 3, 10 days into her new job. At 1:20pm, the daughter – who was taking an afternoon nap – suddenly heard a scream from outside and saw the domestic worker lying on the ground.

The maid was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 2am on December 4.

Citing circumstantial evidence, State Coroner Marvin Bay said Setyaningrum – who suffered injuries to her head and spinal cord – had fallen from height while cleaning the flat’s kitchen windows perched on a stool.

The coroner said the maid’s death was an “unfortunate misadventure”, The Strait Times reported on Saturday.

However, he said employers should tell their domestic workers about the potential dangers in cleaning windows, hanging laundry, or accessing structures that protrude from high-rise apartments and present potential hazards.

In Singapore, foreign maids are not allowed to clean window exteriors unless enhanced and safe working conditions are in place. Employers who fail to comply may be prosecuted and permanently barred from hiring a maid. In Hong Kong, new regulations, effective from January 1 this year, stipulate that no part of a domestic worker’s body, arms excepted, must be outside of a window while it is being cleaned.

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