MOM to carry out 300 more checks in high-risk workplaces after deadly accidents in Feb

Top offences found during Operation Robin were unguarded openings and open sides that pose as fall risks. PHOTO: SINGAPORE MINISTRY OF MANPOWER/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Following a spate of deadly workplace accidents this month, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is adding 300 inspections in high-risk industries.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Feb 24), MOM said the inspections will continue until mid-March, adding that there will be "a greater focus on tackling the common infringements found of work-at-heights risk and safe use of machinery" in the construction, manufacturing and marine sectors.

The announcement came on the same day as an explosion at an industrial site in Tuas, which saw 10 workers taken to hospital for burn injuries. Three of them died.

Of the other seven deaths this month, three fell from height, three were caught between objects and one was involved in a work-related traffic accident.

MOM had, between mid-December last year and this month, launched Operation Robin with 400 inspections at various sites.

The team uncovered 486 contraventions and issued seven stop-work orders (SWO).

In one of these inspections, MOM issued a SWO to Kian Hua Hardware where contraventions, including ignition keys being left in forklifts and unsafe electrical installations, were uncovered.

Another SWO was issued to waste management and construction company Mass Engineering for practices including poorly maintained excavators and the unsafe stockpiling of debris.

MOM said top offences found during Operation Robin were unguarded openings and open sides that pose as fall risks as well as unsafe machinery practices.

In two of the fatal accidents this month, workers had operated a boom lift and a forklift, even though they were untrained and unauthorised.

"MOM takes such contraventions seriously and will not hesitate to take a tough enforcement stance against those who put workers at risk," it added.

Workers were found exiting the platform of the boom lift at height onto the building ledge. PHOTO: SINGAPORE MINISTRY OF MANPOWER/FACEBOOK

The Singapore Contractors Association and Workplace Safety and Health Council had on Monday issued a call for a safety time-out on the use of machinery in the light of the recent incidents.

In a Facebook post the same day, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said that 30 fatalities were recorded for the whole of last year and seven for this month alone.

"This is extremely alarming... these incidents could have been prevented with adequate risk assessment of the workplace, and proper safety procedures in place," he said.

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