The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Friday said it is concerned about what it describes as the stagnating workplace safety performance of the construction industry, after 14 workers died on the job, the same number as last year.
There is also a worrying trend of workers dying while working on smaller projects, the ministry added. Of the 14 workers who died last year, three were at worksites for projects contracted for less than $10 million. There were five deaths this year at such worksites.
In the latest incident, a worker died after he was caught between metal barricades and the counterweight of a crane on Nov 22.
The ministry also pointed out that of the 14 deaths so far this year, four occurred last month, making it the month with the highest number of construction worker deaths this year.
The MOM has stepped up enforcement efforts during the festive period, initiating an operation on Friday that will see it conduct 400 inspections before mid-February.
At the Seah Construction worksite in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, the MOM on Friday issued a full stop-work order after lapses, which included scaffolds without toe boards, were detected.
"Housekeeping issues were prevalent across the entire worksite, with construction materials placed all over the worksite. Passageways for access were also blocked," the ministry said in a statement.
Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad repeated his message on Friday that every life matters.
He said the challenge for MOM is that there are a lot more smaller sites.
Number of workplace inspections the Ministry of Manpower plans to carry out before mid-February
"They may lack the resources or know-how and that is where the MOM will come in, whether in terms of enforcement or in spreading awareness."