The number of occupational diseases (OD) in Singapore has dropped to 294 cases in H1 2018 - down by 38% from the 471 cases in H1 2017.

According to the latest Workplace Safety and Health figures released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the top three occupational diseases in H1 2018 were work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD), noise induced deafness (NID) and occupational skin diseases.

That said, comparing H1 2018 with the same period in 2017, the occurrence of WRMSD and NID decreased by 14% and 48% respectively. Similarly, the number of cases of occupational skin disease also decreased, from 50 cases in H1 2017 to 21 cases in H1 2018.

Overall, there were 20 workplace fatalities in H1 2018 - fewer than the 23 in H2 2017, but one more than in H1 2017. In line with that, the 12-month rolling fatal injury rate was 1.3 per 100,000 employed persons as at end June 2018, similar to the rate as at end June 2017.

Including non-fatal cases, there were fewer workplace injuries, dangerous occurrences and occupational diseases in H1 2018 compared to H2 2017 and H1 2017 across all sectors.

Among sectors that have accounted for the most fatal and major injuries in recent years, the manufacturing, and transport and storage sectors saw signs of improvement.

On the flip side, the construction sector saw an increase in fatal and major injuries from 53 in H1 2017, to 72 in H1 2018. The construction sector was the top contributor to workplace fatalities (eight cases), followed by the manufacturing sector (four cases).

Continuing the downward trend, vehicular-related fatalities (the top cause of workplace fatalities annually since 2013) also saw a reduction, from seven cases in both H1 2017 and H2 2017, to four in H1 2018.

However, falls remained a concern, causing seven fatalities in H1 2018. More than half of the fatalities from falls (four cases) in 1H 2018 occurred in construction.

Falls was found to be the top cause of major injuries in H1 2018 with 142 cases - an increase from H1 2017 (112 cases) and H2 2017 (128 cases). While, machinery-related incidents remained stable with 36 cases in H1 2018, compared to 39 cases in H1 2017. On a whole, falls, machinery-related incidents, and vehicular-related incidents accounted for 71% of all major injuries in H1 2018 (202 out of 285 cases).

At the same time, the number of dangerous occurrences (DO), which are incidents with a high potential for multiple fatalities, continued to decline from 20 cases in H1 2017, to 15 cases in H2 2017, nine in H1 2018. It was noted that most of these incidents involved crane safety.

Infographics / MOM Photo / 123RF