More worksite visits this year to tackle falls from height

Workplace Safety and Health professionals will conduct about 300 visits to worksites this year.
Workplace Safety and Health professionals will conduct about 300 visits to worksites this year.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) professionals will conduct about 300 visits to worksites this year under a programme to tackle the top workplace killer here - workers falling from height.

This is up from 80 visits last year.

Under the Mobile Work at Heights programme, these appointed professionals will visit worksites to highlight areas that can be improved and make recommendations.

Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan announced this and a range of workplace safety initiatives yesterday while speaking at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and WSH Council's Programme-based Engagement Plus Forum, attended by more than 500 industry players.

The forum, held at the Singapore Expo, is an annual event aimed at addressing major causes of work fatalities and injuries, assisting firms in building competencies and raising WSH standards.

A concerted effort by the industry has reduced the number of fatalities that are due to falls from height. There were 13 such deaths last year, a decrease from 24 in 2009.

About 70 per cent of these accidents occurred in small and medium-sized enterprises. Therefore, more support will be given to smaller construction worksites through this programme.

Besides the worksite visits, Mr Tan said a booklet on case studies of such accidents, available on the WSH Council website, will offer some preventive measures.

This year, the WSH Council and MOM will focus on three areas - fall from height, on-site vehicular safety and workplace injuries that result in amputation.

For vehicular safety, WSH consultants will visit firms for free to help them better manage risks involved in the operation of vehicles.

A vehicular safety seminar, bringing together experts, practitioners and partners to share their experiences, is also planned for later this year. This comes as 12 workers were hit and killed by moving vehicles within workplaces last year, a 20 per cent jump from 2015.

Separately, there will be a seminar later this year to address a rising trend of workplace accidents resulting in amputations.

There were 143 cases reported last year, an increase of 22 per cent from 2015. Hand injuries accounted for about 90 per cent of all cases.

Workplace accidents are preventable, said Mr Tan, adding that these could be averted through simple interventions, such as proper risk assessments, safety training and safe work procedures.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline 'More worksite visits this year to tackle falls from height'. Print Edition | Subscribe