Unreasonably high productivity targets and huge workloads are major factors contributing towards the high number of deaths in the construction sector in Singapore, a HealthServe report stated.
The non-governmental organisation (NGO) has submitted this report to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). In it, it notes there were 12 deaths at construction sites in the first quarter of 2014 alone, out of a total of 19 deaths.
Since the report, completed in August, was released, there have also been a number of other deaths at construction sites, including one worker who died this week at Pioneer Turn after the third-storey platform he was working on collapsed. Two others were also injured and MOM has closed the site while it investigates.
The report was compiled by case worker and researcheer Stephanie Chok, who interviewed numerous construction workers in Singapore from China earlier this year.
In the report, they outline hard-to-meet productivity targets as being a problem, with some workers stating their employers would refuse payment if their targets were not met.
"Policy debates about worksite safety, at least in Singapore, have largely been lacking a critical voice: that of construction workers. Yet attempts to formulate a holistic workplace health and safety framework will fail if workers’ perspectives are overlooked in the formulation of long-term action plans," the report reads.
Other factors include cost-cutting measures that result in severe time pressures, fatigue from long working hours and external conditions such as Singapore's weather.
"These factors were enabled, as well as exacerbated, by their bosses’ and supervisors’ general disregard for workers’ safety and wellbeing, and zero tolerance for dissent. Ultimately, the priority, as one construction worker pointed out, is to maximize profits," the report adds.
In an article by TODAY, the MOM said it would look into HealthServe's report as it continues to ramp up efforts to improve workplace health and safety.
This year, MOM has increased its enforcement efforts, conducting about 4,600 inspections in the first eight months of this year. It issued 51 stop-work orders, nearly 2,000 composition fines and more than 6,000 warnings.