More non-fatal injuries at workplaces in 2016: Workplace Safety and Health Institute

Workers at a construction site for semi-detached houses between Victoria Park Road and Coronation Road.
Workers at a construction site for semi-detached houses between Victoria Park Road and Coronation Road.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The number of non-fatal workplace injuries increased to 13,014 cases last year, a 5.4 per cent increase over the 12,351 cases in 2015, due mainly to an increase in minor injury cases.

The fatal injury rate at workplaces in 2016 remained at 1.9 per 100,000 employed persons, according to a report released on Tuesday (Feb 14) by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute.

In 2016, there were 66 workplace fatalities resulting in a fatal injury rate of 1.9 per 100,000 employed persons, similar to 2015.

The highest number of workplace fatalities happened in the construction sector despite the number of fatalities falling from 27 in 2015 to 24 in 2016. The fatal injury rate for this sector also decreased to 4.9 per 100,000 employed persons, the lowest since 2007.

The Marine sector saw an increase in fatalities, from four in 2015 to six in 2016. Fatalities in the Manufacturing sector also increased, with nine in 2016, compared to six in 2015. The Transportation & Storage sector accounted for 11 fatalities, compared to 15 in 2015.

Most of the 66 fatalities were due to falls (29 per cent) and by workers being struck by moving objects (20 per cent).

The number of major injuries in the workplace decreased slightly from 597 cases in 2015 to 594 cases in 2016, while minor injuries went up by 5.7 per cent from 11,688 cases in 2015, to 12,354 cases in 2016.

Most major injuries involved crushing, fractures and dislocations (55 per cent). Amputations were the second leading injury type, with 143 workers suffering from partial or complete loss of a body part - a 22 per cent increase compared to 117 cases in 2015.

Meanwhile, occupational disease cases fell from 935 in 2015 to 732 in 2016.

Similar to 2015, the leading occupational diseases were noise-induced deafness (322 cases), and work-related musculoskeletal disorders (316 cases), which together accounted for 87 per cent of all such cases.

Said WSH Institute's executive director Gan Siok Lin: "Besides looking at fatal injuries, there is a need to pay closer attention to major injuries which cause much suffering to the injured worker and also his family. Injured workers who are on longer medical leave and have some loss in function are more likely not to return to the workforce."