Two more workplace deaths, with one falling into the sea and another falling from height

There have been 42 workplace fatalities recorded in 2022 to date, the highest death toll over the last four years. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE – An Indian national who fell into the sea off Jurong Island while working, and an elderly Singaporean who fell from height while doing cleaning work, are the latest fatalities in a year that has seen a record number of workplace deaths.

The two incidents happened within a day of each other, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Tuesday. 

The 41-year-old Indian national was doing scaffolding work at the Singapore Refining Company in Merlimau Road at about 11am on Nov 25 when he fell into the sea off Jurong Island. His body was retrieved the same day.

MOM said it is investigating the incident and has issued a stop-work order to the employer, Plant General Services, to halt scaffolding operations at the piers.

It added that those working near the sea or large water bodies need proper fall protection measures, along with a response plan for emergencies.

In the other incident, a 69-year-old Singaporean was carrying out cleaning services at a vacated unit in Hilltops condominium at Cairnhill Circle at about 6pm on Nov 26 when he fell from height. 

He was cleaning the external window panes when he fell from about 9m and landed on the ground below.

The worker, who was employed by Home Cleanz Cleaning and Laundry Services, was not wearing personal fall protection equipment. He was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic.

MOM, which is investigating the incident, has instructed the employer to stop all work-at-height activities.

It said that as a safety measure, window cleaning should be carried out from within a room or place where there is no risk of falling.

It added that if this is not possible, cleaners must be effectively protected by fall-appropriate equipment.

There have been 42 workplace fatalities recorded in 2022 to date, the highest death toll over the last four years. There were 37 workplace fatalities in 2021, 30 in 2020, and 39 in 2019. 

MOM had from Sept 1 imposed a six-month heightened safety period following the rise in work-related deaths and injuries.

During this period, companies can be barred from hiring foreign workers if serious safety lapses are found following an accident.

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