Construction sector has fewer workplace deaths in first quarter of 2017

Construction workers do roofing at a temporary shelter along Pasir Ris Walk.
Construction workers do roofing at a temporary shelter along Pasir Ris Walk. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The construction sector saw one workplace death in the first three months of 2017, down from an average of six deaths per quarter in 2016.

There were 24 workplace deaths in the sector last year, 17 of which occurred in the first six months.

Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan attributed the reduction to a collective effort by construction companies in improving workplace safety.

"It is up to each of us to take the initiative in being more vigilant of our surroundings, assess the work situation and take steps to address the work hazard," he told about 200 company representatives at a workplace safety seminar on Tuesday (June 6) organised by the Singapore Contractors Association Limited.

However, he flagged major injuries as a concern - especially those caused by falls from heights and being struck by moving vehicles.

There were 22 serious injuries in the construction sector in the first quarter of 2017.

To help tackle this, the Manpower Ministry will launch a programme called "Managing Onsite Vehicular Safety" in August.

Under the programme, workplace safety and health (WSH) consultants will visit and assess worksites to guide employers on better traffic safety management.

Mr Tan said his ministry is also stepping up site visits by WSH professionals who focus on the safety of those working at heights.

The National Crane Safety Taskforce under the WSH Council will produce a video on preventive steps to take when using cranes to lift objects, he added.

He reiterated the construction sector's target - set in 2015 - of reducing the fatality rate to less than 1.8 per 100,000 workers by next year.

"Workers' lives are at stake, their safety and health must come first before any work begins," he said.