Singapore's workplaces witnessed the deaths of 19 workers in Jan-Jun 2017 (H1 2017), with the most number of workplace fatalities in the manufacturing sector (five cases), followed by the construction sector (two cases), in data published by WSH Institute.
The number of workplace fatalities in H1 2017 was down from 24 in H2 2016, and 42 in H1 2016. There were also fewer workplace injuries in H1 2017 (6,151) compared to H2 2016 (6,769) and H1 2016 (6,245).
However, the number of confirmed occupational disease cases increased from 341 in H2 2016 to 467 cases in H1 2017.
Here's the number-by-number breakdown on workplace fatalities, injuries and diseases in Singapore during Jan-Jun 2017:
The manufacturing sector accounted for the highest number (1,431 cases) of workplace injuries and occupational diseases. This was followed by the construction, accommodation and food service activities, and transportation and storage sectors.
In total, these four sectors accounted for 54% of workplace injuries (3,300 out of 6,151) and 73% of the occupational diseases (340 out of 467) in H1 2017.
The top causes of workplace fatalities continued to be vehicular-related incidents and falls. There were seven fatalities from vehicular-related incidents in H1 2017, down from 12 in H2 2016. There were four fatalities from falls in H1 2017, up from three in H2 2016.
The other causes of fatalities included fires/explosions, drowning, collapse of formwork, struck by falling objects, struck by moving objects (excluding vehicles), exposure to extreme temperatures and exposure to hazardous substances.
The top three occupational diseases in H1 2017 were noise induced deafness (NID), work-related musculoskeletal disorders and occupational skin diseases. NID cases rose by 84% to 195 cases from the 106 cases in H2 2016, accounting for 42% of occupational diseases in H1 2017. The number of cases of occupational skin disease doubled, likely due to greater awareness of reporting requirements.
Responding to the report, executive director of Workplace Safety & Health Institute, Dr Gan Siok Lin said, “There is a need for added focus on vehicular safety given the higher incidence of fatality due to vehicular-related incidents. The increase in occupational disease cases also suggests that more effort is needed to manage health hazards in the workplace."
He added: "I would like to remind employers and workers to focus on improving risk communication, supervision and work coordination as our analysis of fatal and major injuries had revealed these to be the main gaps."
In H2 2017, the Ministry of Manpower's inspections will target three areas:
- Vehicular safety in the construction, logistics and transport sector
- Fall from heights, slips, trips and falls in the construction, marine and manufacturing sectors
- Machinery safety in the construction and manufacturing sector.
All images / Workplace Safety & Health Institute