Singapore

Drop in workplace deaths in construction sector

  • JOANNA SEOW, THE STRAITS TIMES

The construction sector saw one workplace death in the first five months of this year, down from an average of six deaths a quarter last year.

There were 24 workplace deaths in the sector last year, 17 of which occurred in the first six months of the year.

The sole death this year happened in March, when a worker was hit by a steel plate at a construction site near Changi Airport.

Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan yesterday attributed the reduction to a collective effort by construction companies to improve workplace safety.

"It is up to each of us to take the initiative in being more vigilant of our surroundings, assess the work situation and take steps to address the work hazard," he told about 200 company representatives at a workplace safety seminar organised by the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (Scal).

However, he flagged major injuries as a concern - especially those involving workers falling from heights or being struck by moving vehicles.

There were 22 serious injuries in the construction sector in the first quarter of this year. Last year, there was a total of 153.

The Manpower Ministry will launch a programme called Managing Onsite Vehicular Safety in August.

This will see workplace safety and health (WSH) consultants visiting and assessing worksites to guide employers on better traffic safety management.

Mr Tan said WSH professionals who focus on the safety of those working at heights will also conduct more site visits this year.

The National Crane Safety Taskforce will produce a video on preventive safety measures to take when using cranes to lift objects.

The fatality rate of 4.9 per 100,000 workers last year was the lowest since 2007.

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