Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to Parliamentary Question on workplace fatalities in construction industry in 2018
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1488 OF 2019 FOR THE SITTING ON 14 JANUARY 2019
QUESTION NO. 2517 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what are the reasons of higher workplace fatalities in the construction industry in 2018 as compared to 2017; (b) what is the profile of the fatalities; and (c) what more can be done to reduce workplace fatalities in the construction industry.
- Construction workplace fatalities have been on the decline, from an average of 29 between 2009 and 2013 to an average of 21 between 2014 and 2018. It increased marginally from 12 in 2017 to 14 in 2018, reflecting the challenge of sustaining the improvements over the last decade.
- Falls from height remain the main contributor in recent years. The accidents were caused by either the lack of barricades over open sides, or by not using properly attached safety lines. There was a higher proportion of foreign workers with less than two years’ experience in Singapore among the fatalities.
- Our existing approach to raise awareness on safety lapses while carrying out targeted enforcement has helped to reduce construction fatalities. We will continue to work with the WSH Council to raise safety and health awareness through campaigns, roadshows and events at dormitories. In 2018, we have reached out to around 50,000 construction workers to educate them on safety risks, especially from falls. We also share the learning points from recent accidents with the construction industry, including partners like the Singapore Contractors Association Limited.
Safety training especially for less experienced foreign workers is crucial. This is why we have mandatory safety orientation training for new workers, conducted in 8 languages. Refresher courses are also required every 2 years, with frequency reduced after 6 years of experience.
- In addition, MOM will sustain regular inspections. We conducted about 3,000 construction inspections last year, covering close to 70% of active construction sites. They resulted in 55 Stop-Work-Orders and 1,100 composition fines.
- Formed in Feb 2018, the WSH2028 Tripartite Strategies Committee has been discussing how we can improve our WSH outcomes. It is expected to release its recommendations in February 2019.