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Overall workplace injuries and fatalities increase in first half of 2014

Workplace injuries and fatalities rose in the first half of 2014, increasing by 14%[1] and 20%[2] respectively compared to the same period in 2013, according to the latest Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Statistics Report[3] from January to June 2014 released by the WSH Institute. 30 workers lost their lives at their workplace in the first half of 2014, up from 25 during the same period last year, while major injuries edged up to 279, from 273 in 2013.

2          There were four fatalities due to work-related traffic accidents in the first half of 2014, compared to 11 fatalities over the same period in 2013. There were 11% fewer Occupational disease[4] (OD) cases for the first half of 2014 compared to the same period last year (See Table 1).

Overview of fatal workplace injuries

3          The construction sector was the main contributor (57%) of workplace fatalities and remains a cause for concern. There were 17 fatalities in the first half of 2014, compared to 11 over the same period last year. The three traditionally higher risk sectors[5] accounted for 73% of workplace fatalities. Fatalities in the logistics and transport sub-sector doubled to six cases in the first half of 2014 (See Table 2).

4          Falls, Struck by Moving Objects, Caught in/between Objects and Crane-related accidents were the most common causes of workplace fatalities. Falls was the leading incident type at nine cases. There were four cases of Struck by Moving Objects and three fatal crane-related incidents in the first half of 2014 (See Table 3).

Overview of major and minor workplace injuries

5          The three traditionally higher risk sectors accounted for 54% of the 279 cases of major injuries, with the construction sector registering an increase from 71 cases in the first half of 2013 to 84 over the same period in 2014. Major injuries rose for non-traditional sectors as well, from 38 cases in the first half of 2013 to 50 over the same period in 2014. These were seen in various sectors such as Water Supply, Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities, Wholesale and Retail Trade and Logistics and Transport.

6          The first half of 2014 also saw 6,005 minor injuries, up from 5,249 over the same period in 2013. The manufacturing sector remained the highest contributor (23%) of minor injuries while the construction sector recorded a 29% increase – from 1,045 cases in the first half of 2013 to 1,346 over the same period in 2014. Slips, Trips and Falls, which contributed to the bulk of both major (30%) and minor (23%) injuries in the first half of 2014, remained the top incident type.

Fatal injuries arising from work-related traffic accidents

7          While the number of work-related traffic fatalities in the transportation and storage sector decreased from four in the first half of 2013 to two in the first half of 2014, the sector remained the main contributor of work-related traffic fatalities. Of the four work-related traffic fatalities in the first half of 2014, motorcycles were the most common vehicle involved (three cases).

Focus on key areas of concern and WSH culture

8          Commenting on the report, Dr Gan Siok Lin, Executive Director of the WSH Institute, said, “There has been a marked increase in workplace injuries for the first half of 2014 as compared to last year. We hope that the industry will make use of the report to find out the common causes of these injuries, and take preventive measures now to review their workplace safety and health systems and address areas which may have been neglected.”

9          Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman of the WSH Council, urged industry to improve WSH outcomes.  He said, “Despite having put in place various processes and systems, our workplace safety and health performance for the first half of 2014 has not improved.  Clearly this is not good enough if we want to achieve our vision for 2018.  In addition to proper risk assessment and management, as well as addressing design and other upstream aspects in order to remove the risks, the reduction of injuries and ill health crucially depends on strengthening the safety and health culture at the workplace.  Good workplace safety and health habits must become part and parcel of our daily lives.”

10        The Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) WSH Commissioner, Mr Ho Siong Hin, added, “Employers have no excuse for compromising on workplace safety and health. These injuries and illnesses could and should have been prevented. Tough action will be taken against companies and individuals who are found to have flouted the law.”

11        The full WSH Statistics Report is available on the WSH Institute website (www.wshi.gov.sg).


[1] In January to June 2014, there were 6,314 overall workplace injuries, up 5,547 over the same period in 2013. The overall workplace injuries include fatal, major and minor injuries.

[2] In January to June 2014, there were 30 fatal injuries, up from 25 over the same period in 2013.

[3] The WSH Statistics Report analysed work incidents that were reported to the Ministry of Manpower.

[4] An occupational disease is a disease contracted as a result of an exposure to risk factors arising from work activity.

[5] The three traditionally higher risk sectors are Construction, Marine and Manufacturing.

 
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