Fewer workplace deaths but more injuries last quarter: MOM
But there were more injuries: Manpower Ministry
There were fewer workplace deaths from July to September this year compared with the previous quarter, although more workers sustained injuries.
A total of 10 workers died in the last quarter, down from 14 from April to June this year. To date, 34 workers have died on the job this year.
There were also 3,122 cases of minor injuries last quarter - compared to 2,958 in the previous quarter.
Just as in previous quarters, falls remain the top cause of injuries and fatalities, according to Manpower Ministry data released yesterday.
While there are fewer deaths last quarter, Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad warned against being complacent. Five of the deaths this year involved construction workers who had fallen from height, and many of the fatal incidents were preventable, he said.
To that end, the MOM will step up its enforcement efforts on work-at-height activities, setting a target of 400 inspections from now until the end of the year, said Mr Zaqy.
"We hope this will also drive the message to industries to take safety a lot more seriously," he told reporters on the sidelines of a visit to Sim Lian Construction's worksite in Bukit Panjang, where he also witnessed a safety review of the site.
The visit was part of MOM's mobile clinic initiative, in which companies voluntarily bring in third-party consultants to share the best practices of the industry and improve their own safety processes.
The clinic service, started in 2016, is provided free-of-charge. MOM does not punish firms for any shortcomings detected during these consultations and helps them improve.
At the clinic yesterday, principal consultant Daryl Ong flagged several potential risks at the site to the contractor.
Said Mr Zaqy: "It's really about building up our capabilities and competencies, and for management to take ownership (of safety).
"I do not want a culture where they only do it because MOM wants to enforce.
"We want management to say, 'I care for my workers and that is why I do it.'"
Last week, the High Court set out a harsher sentencing guideline for workplace safety and health violations due to negligence.
Those found to be highly culpable and with a high potential of harm can expect a minimum punishment of about 16 weeks' jail.
In his judgment, Justice Chan Seng Onn said past sentences for such cases did not sufficiently deter people from breaching workplace safety rules.