WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY TRENDS
Singapore – The number of workplace deaths climbed 10.9% last year from 2010 causing workplaces a total loss of 565,276 man-days, the latest Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) report revealed.
The report, by the WSH Council and Manpower Ministry, showed workplace fatality rate inched up slightly to 2.3 per 100,000 employed persons, compared to 2.2 in 2010. Four in 10 fatalities involved slips, trips and falls from heights.
While the construction sector saw a drop in workplace deaths from 32 in 2010 to 22 cases last year, it is still the top contributor of workplace fatalities, accounting for 36% of deaths. This is followed by the marine and manufacturing sectors – both of which registered an increase in the number of workplace deaths reported last year. Together, the three sectors accounted for more than 70% of workplace deaths, permanent disablements and occupational diseases.
"The council will be stepping up efforts, such as through the WSH Assist programme, to focus on getting SMEs to improve their WSH management in a more structured manner, especially in areas of concern like work at heights," Heng Chiang Gnee, acting chairman of the WSH Council, said in an interview with Channel News Asia
He added United Engineers, which is involved in construction-related projects, had zero workplace fatalities last year. The company - which has also projects in the engineering and integrated property sectors - even managed to reduce its accident rate by 13% through proper employees training programmes.
"They understand the danger. They recognise risk and they need to take measures to mitigate the risk. The workplace is always a potential hazard. We hope to eliminate it before we even bring the person on-site, meaning we try to eliminate at the design stage,” Jackson Yap, CEO of United Engineers, said.
Although, work injuries and permanent disablement cases fell by 1.9% and 11%respectively in 2011, the number of man-days lost due to work incidents marked a 6% increase from 532,769 in 2010.
"The downward trend in injuries in the traditional sectors suggests that our efforts may have helped to improve overall safety practices, hence, leading to fewer injuries,” Heng said. "However, their fatality numbers remain high. We are deeply concerned that the small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in these sectors, which account for most of the cases, continue to see recurrence of incidents that could have been prevented if risk management measures were well implemented.”
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