Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has expressed concern about the high rate of fatalities at the workplace based to the National Workplace Safety and Health Report for 1H 2022. According to the report, 28 workers suffered fatal injuries with the top causes being falls from height and vehicular-related incidents which accounted for half of the cases.
This amounts to a 6-month fatality rate of 0.8 per 100,000 workers, higher than in 2H 2021 (0.4) and 1H 2021 (0.7).
To arrest the spate of fatalities, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) introduced a series of new and targeted measures, and called for a six-month period of Heightened Safety from 1 September 2022 to 28 February 2023.
The 10,429 reported workplace injuries, however, is 4.5 per cent lower than in 2H 2021 with 10,915 cases. It is also 7.5 per cent lower than the same period last year at 11,271 per cent. The was caused by a drop in major and minor injuries.
Having mentioned that, slips, trips, and falls remain the leading cause injuries with 95 of the 297 major injuries, and 2,887 of the 10,104 minor injuries.
Construction Sector Contributes for Most Fatalities
The construction sector accounted for the highest number of fatalities with 10, for a fatality rate to 2.3 per 100,000 workers. It is also the biggest cause for major injuries with 84 cases (19.1 cases per 100,000 workers).
To quell this issue, MOM has issued 63 Stop-Work-Orders (SWO) worksites in the construction industry between January 2022 to mid-September 2022 for unsafe work conditions.
For example, construction company Wah Khiaw Developments Pte Ltd was fined S$15,000 for having workers at heights without barricades or fall arrest systems.
Another construction company, KG Plasterceil Pte Ltd, was also found to have breached guidelines for multiple unsafe scaffolds and unsafe work at heights at the worksite. In response, a full SWO was issued with need for further penalties being assessed.
Rise in Vehicular-Related Fatal Accidents
MOM has also noted the trend: 6 in 1H 2021, 5 in 2H 2021, and for 1H 2022 with 7 cases. As such companies in high-risk industries with higher number of fatalities (Construction, Manufacturing, Marine, Process and Transport & Storage) as well as companies in other industries that use heavy or industrial vehicles are required to review their safety procedures, or face debarment from employing new foreign employees for one month if found to be non-compliant.