SINGAPORE: Six workers have died in nine workplace accidents this December, with four of the fatal accidents occurring in the past week, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Thursday.
The accidents, which involve both Singaporean and foreign workers, are mostly industrial in nature or caused when workers move heavy objects.
MOM has urged companies to proactively carry out thorough risk assessments and enforce safety measures to ensure the safety and health of their workers.
"Preliminary findings indicate that the accidents and the needless loss of lives could have been prevented with proper risk assessment and good workplace safety and health practices," said Kevin Teoh in a statement. Mr Teoh is the director of MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate.
Mr Teoh said companies have a duty to ensure the safety and health of their workers, and that this should never be taken for granted.
Under the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act, all stakeholders — including employers and employees — are required to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of workers and other related parties.
Failure to do so is an offence under the law, said MOM.
Two employers were prosecuted this month for two separate accidents that occurred in February 2010.
In one incident, a worker operated a forklift without a licence and fatally injured another.
In the other incident, a worker working near a formwork panel was crushed when the 2000 kilogram panel fell on him.
MOM said investigations into both fatal accidents have found that the accidents could have been prevented had the parties involved conducted proper risk management and enforced safety measures at the workplace.
Individuals found guilty of offences under the WSH Act can be fined up to S$200,000 or imprisoned up to two years or both for the first offence. Companies can be fined up to $500,000.
Workers who fail to comply with safety measures may be fined up to S$1,000.
In the span of just one week, four employees were killed and one injured in their workplaces within the construction and manufacturing sectors.
Following a media release from MOM, the WSH Council said it issued an alert on Thursday to remind industry stakeholders to stay vigilant.
It reminded companies and employees to work together to prevent accidents.
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