140 safety lapses posing fire and explosion risks found in blitz on waste recycling companies

More than 30 companies were inspected during the blitz, which was supported by the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
More than 30 companies were inspected during the blitz, which was supported by the Singapore Civil Defence Force.PHOTO: SINGAPORE MINISTRY OF MANPOWER/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Several waste recycling companies have been taken to task for failing to keep up with safety measures following an enforcement blitz which targeted firms in the industry. 

In a statement on Friday (Nov 13), a spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that 34 companies were issued with warnings, with five also receiving fines. 

The companies will be required to correct the lapses, failing which they could face stoppage of work or even prosecution in court, said the spokesman. 

Nearly 140 safety lapses posing fire and explosion risks were found during the operation in October.

The poor handling of flammable and toxic gases and obstructions to fire safety were among the contraventions MOM inspectors uncovered.

More than 30 companies were inspected during the blitz, which was supported by the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

In a statement on Friday (Nov 13), an MOM spokesman said that 34 companies were issued with warnings, with five of them receiving fines. 

The companies were required to rectify the lapses, failing which they could face stoppage of work or prosecution in court, said the spokesman. 

Durng the inspections, the officers also found other dangerous lapses that could hurt workers, such as unsafe stacking, unsafe electrical wiring and poor forklift conditions.

In a Facebook post on Friday, the MOM reminded employers that they should be taking steps to protect their workers, like conducting risk assessments, ensuring they are not handling materials they are not equipped for, and following safe work practices.

It also emphasised the importance of vigilance in protecting workers' lives, and reminded companies to ensure necessary safeguards are in place to protect their employees.

"With year-end festivities approaching, businesses may be ramping up their work activities to meet deadlines due to earlier work suspension," it said.

"Last year, in November and December alone, there was a spate of accidents that unfortunately resulted in the death of 13 workers," it added.

On a positive note, the MOM said during the operation, its officers also found some companies with good practices, such as rejecting flammable materials if they lacked the expertise to handle them safely.