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Falls (including Falls from height and Slips, Trips and Falls)


Why is it a priority?

Falls, which includes Falls from Heights (FFH) and Slips, Trips and Falls (STF), is a key priority area as it has remained as one of the top three causes of fatal and major work injuries since 2011. 

From 2014 to 2017, Falls contributed 29% of fatal work injuries. 66% of these fatal Falls were due to FFH. Of these fatal FFHs, 62% were from the Construction sector. FFH cases were mainly due to falls from structures, roofs and ladders (Figure 7).

 

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Figure 7: Fatal Falls from Heights Statistics (by Industry and Incident Agent),
Year 2014 - 2017

Source: WSH National Statistics Report 2017

 

Besides fatal injuries, Falls also contributed 41% of major work injuries in 2014 – 2017. 67% of these major injuries were due to Slips, Trips and Falls. The top sectors were Manufacturing, Construction and Transportation and Storage (Figure 8). 

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Figure 8: Slips, Trips and Falls Statistics (by Industry), Year 2014 - 2017
Source: WSH National Statistics Report 2017

 

Findings from studies have revealed that work at height injuries are influenced by a number of factors, including organisation/management related ones such as management of contractors, project timeline, lack of proper/safe equipment, etc.; and individual characteristics, such as unsafe behaviour and lack of training . These findings highlighted that there is a strong need to tackle organisational or management practices and individual mindset, beliefs and behaviours. This could be done by improving supervision, competency, communication, project management and inculcating a mindset that all work injuries and ill health are preventable. With the emergence and rapid development of new technologies, we could leverage on technological solutions to strengthen on-site measures to reduce these injuries.  


Research Needs 

The following research is needed to reduce injuries caused by Falls:
Develop technological solutions to eliminate or reduce working at height activities;
Determine the knowledge, attitude and practices of key stakeholders in the value chain e.g. project managers, facilities managers, WSH Officers, supervisors and workers in preventing FFH and STF injuries; 
Develop solutions to nudge workers’ and supervisors’ to comply with safe work practices;
Develop and test innovative solutions, taking into consideration key risk factors in terms of organisation practices and workers’ characteristics; evaluate the effectiveness of the solutions by measuring workers’ unsafe behaviours, near misses, injuries, etc.; and
Develop solutions to overcome challenges for implementing safe work practices.

 

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