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Operation "Night Eagle" - Keeping the Spotlight on Worker Safety

The Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Inspectorate conducted night inspections at 11 worksites over the past week. Work carried out at night is a concern for MOM as about one in four workplace fatalities occur at night. Operation "Night Eagle" targeted worksites that operate round-the-clock and with large number of workers, such as the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort (IR), Resorts World Sentosa IR, Marina Financial Centre, as well as the Formula 1 race track and grandstand.

Action taken by Operation "Night Eagle"

2.   29 Workplace Safety & Health violations were uncovered. MOM issued composition fines for 15 of these offences, and served warning letters and orders to rectify the remaining 14 less serious violations. Please see Annex A for details.

3.   Insufficient lighting was the top safety lapse found in the majority of the worksites. This is a big concern for work conducted at night as insufficient lighting can adversely impact the vision and judgement of workers and contribute to serious accidents. Without adequate lighting, workers are subject to higher risks of tripping, falling from heights, falling off unsafe scaffolds and electrocution from unsafe wirings or equipment.

4.   Another common safety lapse found was falling hazards. There was a lack of adequate measures to prevent workers from falling, such as open sides that were not properly cordoned and work platforms without proper barricades. The falling hazards, coupled with insufficient lighting, presented serious risks to workers onsite. Please see Annex B for photos of some of the safety lapses found.

5.   The construction sector is a priority enforcement area as it accounts for about 40% of workplace fatalities. Operation "Night Eagle" built on our existing night inspections regime but with greater intensity. Through Operation "Night Eagle", we are heartened to note that contractors have taken MOM's feedback positively and made the necessary improvements. All worksites need to be reminded that, even as they gear up to meet deadlines, they must ensure safety at all times. MOM will take stern action, including prosecution, against those who knowingly flout safety rules and put workers' lives at risk," said Mr Silas Sng, Director of MOM's OSH Inspectorate.

WSH Council urges worksites to ensure safety

6.   Mr Jackson Yap, Chairman of the WSH Council's Construction and Landscaping Committee, highlighted the importance of night safety at worksites, "Our sector has recently set a five-year goal to halve our current work fatality rate. To achieve this goal, it is imperative that all contractors place safety as a key part of worksite management at all times, especially when work can also persist into the night. When working past sunset, I would like to remind all contractors to provide proper and adequate equipment and lighting to ensure that our workers can execute their work not just effectively, but more importantly, safely. In addition, workers' vigilance and alertness should be kept high when working at night. Therefore, shift planning and adequate rest in between work are also necessary."

MOM to continue enforcement efforts

7.   MOM will continue to conduct both night and day inspections across workplaces. Besides issuing fines and warnings, MOM officers will also issue stop work orders in workplaces that present immediate dangers to the workers. Companies that fail to ensure workplace safety may be charged under the Workplace Safety and Health Act which carries a maximum fine of $500,000. Individuals can also be charged under the WSH Act for a maximum fine of $500,000 and/or 24 months jail term.