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The number of workplace fatalities in Singapore fell from 42 in 2017 to 41 in 2018, setting a record low in such incidences. This was revealed in a press release by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday (21 February).
This dip in numbers continues the trend of declining workplace fatalities, following the enactment of the Workplace Safety and Health Act in 2006. In fact, the workplace fatal injury rate dropped by more than 60% – from 3.1 in 2006, to 1.2 in 2018.
However, despite the decline in fatal injuries, 2018 saw 22 more major injuries and 291 more minor injuries last year as compared to 2017. There were 596 major injury cases in 2018 versus 574 in 2017; and 12,173 minor injuries in 2018 versus 11,882 in 2017.
The construction sector remained the top contributor of workplace fatal injuries, while there were fewer cases in the manufacturing and transport and storage sectors in 2018 from the previous year.
Drop in number of dangerous occurrences and occupational diseases
On the other hand, the number of dangerous occurrences and occupational diseases decreased by 34% and 30% respectively from 2017 to 2018.
- The number of work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases (also the top occupational disease occurrence) decreased from 337 in 2017 to 326 in 2018.
- The second most common occupational disease (noise-induced deafness) saw a drop in cases from 329 in 2017 to 163 in 2018.
- As for occupational skin diseases (the third most occurred disease) there were 30 less cases in 2018 (48) than in 2017 (78).
Minister of State for Manpower Mr Zaqy Mohamad highlighted that despite this slight dip in workplace fatalities, the increase in workplace injuries is a cause for concern.
He said: “Some businesses may not realise the business benefits that good workplace safety and health (WSH) can bring, and perceive improving WSH as costing time and money.
“The WSH2028 Tripartite Strategies Committee has been studying how we can align firms’ commercial interests closer to good WSH outcomes, so that more firms will be motivated to make work conditions safer and healthier.”
According to the minister, the committee’s strategies are currently being finalised and will be announced in April.
Photo / 123RF