Falling from height is top worksite killer in H1 of 2010

SINGAPORE: Workers falling from height remains the top killer at the worksite with 10 such cases in the first half of this year, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

There were 11 cases during the same period last year.

Over three months, MOM conducted inspections at over 2,000 worksites islandwide.

More than 1,800 safety violations were uncovered at these worksites.

Arising from the inspections, 185 companies were fined and 22 worksites were issued with stop work orders.

These inspections, however, also underscored the need for more training.

Mr Suresh Navaratnam, MOM’s Occupational Safety & Health Director of Policy, Information and Corporate Services, said: "Our inspections highlighted that more can and needs to be done to save unnecessary loss of lives due to WAH (Work at Height) accidents.

"Industry players need to be alert to the problems they have at their workplaces and take immediate action. Those who require assistance to properly manage their WAH risks are strongly encouraged to contact the WSH Council to find out how they can actively upskill themselves to manage WAH safety.

"As we intensify our inspections across the island, we will also be on the ground assessing companies’ willingness to improve on such unsafe work practices and encourage them to go for training, where needed."

A new and first time training course to build capabilities for line supervisors has been rolled out since mid July 2010.

It’s aimed at tackling unsafe work at height practices on the ground, starting with the supervisors.

MOM emphasised that supervisors play a critical role to reduce work at height risks in our workplaces as they are directly responsible for many workers on the ground and can make the most immediate impact to how work is carried out.

Comprising both theory and practical aspects, the 2—day course will bring supervisors through a wide range of topics from fall protection system as well as incident investigations and emergency planning.

The Ministry intends to push for the full implementation of Fall Protection Plans (FPP) in worksites and shipyards by next year.

MOM reminds companies that their failure to ensure workplace safety can result in them being charged under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

If found guilty, they can face a maximum fine of S$500,000.

— CNA/jm/al