SINGAPORE: Major safety breaches have been uncovered at construction sites following inspections by the Ministry of Manpower.
More than 170 companies were slapped with fines totalling more than $350,000 and about 30 stop—work orders issued.
Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan—Jin said the breaches could have been better managed if companies put in more effort.
A total of 529 construction sites were inspected by the Manpower Ministry late last year.
The inspections were carried out under the name "Operation Talon".
Unsafe work at height where workers can fall off a structure was the most common safety lapse, with 19 stop—work orders and 248 fines as well as notices for non—compliance issued.
Other breaches found include unsafe scaffolding, poor housekeeping and a lack of entry and exit points.
In all, 27 stop—work orders were issued for contractors to rectify the lapses.
More than 60 per cent of orders issued lasted for over 10 days
Mr Tan, who shared these findings at the bizSAFE Convention, said the Ministry takes a stern view of poor safety practices.
Eight workers have died in work accidents so far this year, compared with seven in the same period last year.
Mr Tan said: "I would urge all of us not to take things for granted, whatever our statistics show. I think the emphasis cannot let up, we cannot be complacent. Overall, I think we have done well, for a country who has a fairly large transient workforce, I think we are doing not too badly but we are reaching somewhat of a plateau. I think we need to strike a breakthrough."
He urged companies to invest in safety as it not only affects workers but the reputation of businesses as well.
This year, 11 companies were awarded the bizSAFE awards for achieving commendable workplace safety and health performances.
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