SINGAPORE: The number of workplace fatalities and major injuries dropped in the first half of 2012.
There were 26 workplace fatalities, down from 31 in the same period last year, according to the latest Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Statistics Report.
There were 246 cases of major injuries, a slight drop of 3 per cent compared to the same period last year. This contributed to a 6 per cent reduction in man—days lost due to work incidents.
As for minor injuries, there were 5,001 cases, or a 11.3 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.
The overall number of workplace injuries (which includes fatalities) increased by 10.4 per cent.
Occupational diseases (ODs) also rose by almost 67 per cent to 603, from 360 over the same period last year. The most common OD (89 per cent) is noise—induced deafness followed by occupational skin diseases. The manufacturing sector continued to record the highest number of OD cases, making up 51 per cent of total ODs, up from 39 per cent of cases as at end June 2011.
The Construction, Marine and Manufacturing sectors saw a drop in the number of fatalities.
There were 17 fatalities, compared to 25 in the same period last year.
However these three sectors saw an increase in major injuries (8 per cent) and minor injuries (25 per cent).
Other sectors (including accommodation, food services, waste management, logistics and transport) contributed to about 35 per cent of total work fatalities in the first half of 2012, up from 19 per cent in the same period in 2011.
Many of these cases were slips, trips and falls from heights as well as workers struck by moving or falling objects.
In terms of major injuries, these sectors saw a 14 per cent drop while minor injuries saw a marginal 2 per cent increase. The logistics and transport, accommodation and food services as well as health sectors accounted for 13 per cent of major injuries.
Sectors that were just covered under the WSH Act in Sept 2011 (such as Wholesale & Retail Trade, Professional Services, and Administrative & Support Service Activities) accounted for 31 per cent of the major injuries.
The Manpower Ministry’s WSH Commissioner, Mr 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.
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