Written Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Safety Measures at Construction Sites
Notice Paper No. 405 of 2013 For The Sitting On 21 Oct 2013
Question No. 1518 For Written Answer
MP: Ms Foo Mee Har
To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower whether a comprehensive review is needed to strengthen safety measures at construction sites involving cranes in the light of recent worksite accidents.
- MOM takes a serious view on the recent spate of worksite accidents. It is a stark reminder that accident can happen and therefore employers should always take precautionary measures to protect their workers. MOM will not tolerate employers who contravene safety regulations. If employers are found to be endangering the lives of their workers, firm enforcement action will be taken against them.
- MOM and WSH Council have been working closely with the industry to improve the safety of crane operations. The industry-led National Crane Safety Taskforce, formed in 2009, has been actively working to improve crane safety at all levels, following a review on Singapore’s overall workplace safety and health standards. The mandate of this effort seeks to improve standards at the systems level, working from planning of the lifting operations, to oversight mechanisms and frameworks and specifically, operator proficiency.
- The introduction for the need of a lifting plan in the Crane Regulations and capability building workshops for crane operators, lead the slew of efforts recommended by my Ministry. To further support these efforts, the National Crane Safety Taskforce has also enhanced the curriculums for lifting supervisors and crane operators, as well as developed the Safe Lifting Kit. Detailed procedures in the form of Code of Practice on Safe Lifting Operation at Workplaces, Guidebook for Lifting Supervisors and Workers’ Safety Handbook for Riggers and Signalman were also introduced by the Taskforce, developed in collaboration with the Workplace Safety and Health Council.
- Another key focus area for the taskforce is building industry awareness, while raising standards and professionalism in the community. One of the more popular efforts organised by the taskforce is the Industry Seminar Series on Crane Safety. Lessons learnt from past incidents and best practices will also be shared at upcoming events that had been scheduled earlier on in the year, such as the Crane Safety Symposium, and the Crane Carnival, which would take place in late October and mid November respectively.
- These efforts have yielded modest improvements in Crane Safety for the construction industry, with 12 dangerous occurrences reported in 2012 down from 22 in 2010. This year, two crane-related accidents have claimed three lives compared to five crane-related fatalities in 2012. But this is still, three lives too many. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families of these workers.
- As construction activities continue, employers must do their part to ensure workers are trained; guidelines and regulations are closely adhered to, so that risks are mitigated and workers not placed in harm’s way. All equipment, must also be maintained to the highest standards, and inspections meticulously carried out. We will continue to focus our efforts to enhance work safety involving cranes, in all industries.