SINGAPORE: The Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSHC) has said in its latest report that recent serious accidents could have been prevented if stakeholders had better planned their work and stayed vigilant.
It said that while there has been drop in the number of major incidents in the last six months in Singapore, there have been serious incidents which bring about grave concern to the council, especially in the months of July and August.
The statement is a clear reference to a major fire at the East Village Hotel and also the collapse of the scaffolding at the construction site of the Downtown Line in the Bugis area.
Six construction accidents and five fatalities occurred in July alone.
The Ministry of Manpower’s WSH Commissioner Ho Siong Hin said: "While the first half of the year saw a fall in the number of fatalities and major injuries, there have been a number of serious accidents recently in July and August.
"We are gravely concerned as similar issues are surfacing and workers are hurt in these accidents despite there being many lessons in the past."
Mr Ho said these injuries could have been prevented if stakeholders had planned their work better and were more vigilant.
He stressed that checks alone are not enough. Each individual needs to feel personally motivated to work safely.
To that end, MOM will work closely with the WSH Council to help workers learn how to work safely and raise safety concerns proactively.
Executive director of WSHC Lai Poon Liau said: "We are working with the construction sector —— the developers, the contractors and all the associations related to the construction industry —— and we are making sure that all their bosses and management—level people in the sector go out and demonstrate that safety is an important aspect of their business.
"In fact, the workers have to work in a very high—risk environment. (They should) be mindful of their safety and if there are issues they cannot manage, they have to communicate back to management to make sure these issues are addressed."
Between January and June this year, there were 26 workplace fatalities, down from 31 in the same period last year.
246 major injuries were reported, a three per cent drop.
But for minor injuries, there were close to 5,000 cases, a 11.3 per cent increase.
Overall, workplace injuries which includes fatalities increased by 10.4 per cent.
WSHC says both bosses and workers have to play their part to ensure safety rules are observed.
Mr Lai said: "Management needs to be mindful that they play a critical role in making sure that all workers understand their expectations to work safely. They have to demonstrate this by having conversations with their workforce and impressing on them that they carry their work in a safe manner.
"Workers also have to play a role in making sure that they follow the rules and procedures set by companies. They have to be vigilant of any unsafe situations and behaviour around them and look after themselves and their fellow workers."
"There are many companies that have an English—speaking workforce or multi—lingual workforce, so each company has to cater to that and make sure that all their communications to workers can be understood," he added.
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