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Four workplace deaths in one week; MOM warns all occupiers to ensure the safety and health of workers

27 December 2012

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is concerned about the spate of accidents that have taken place in the past week. In a span of seven days, four workers have lost their lives in four separate accidents (refer to Annex A for details). MOM urges companies to proactively carry out thorough risk assessments and enforce safety measures, to ensure the safety and health of their workers.
  2. In December to date, there have been nine workplace accidents resulting in six fatalities. These accidents occurred mostly in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
  3. MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Inspectorate are investigating the nine cases. Mr Kevin Teoh, Director of MOM’s OSH Inspectorate, said, “Preliminary findings indicate that the accidents and the needless loss of lives could have been prevented with proper risk assessment and good workplace safety and health practices. Occupiers must remember they have a duty to ensure the safety and health of their workers, and this should never be taken for granted. Occupiers must work towards eliminating all safety and health risks at their workplaces."

    Obligations under WSH Act
  4. Under the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act, all stakeholders (occupiers, principals, contractors and workers) are required to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of workers and other people affected by the work being carried out. Failure to take such measures is an offence under the WSH Act.
  5. Individuals who are found guilty of offences under the WSH Act can be fined up to $200,000 or imprisoned up to two years, or both, for the first offence, while companies can be fined up to $500,000.

    Prosecution cases under the WSH Act in December 2012
  6. In December, two cases were prosecuted under the WSH Act in the Subordinate Courts (refer to Annex B for details).
  7. Investigations into both fatal accidents have found that the accidents could have been prevented had the parties involved conducted proper risk management and enforced safety measures at the workplace.

    Reporting WSH issues to MOM
  8. MOM carries out regular onsite safety inspections island-wide, and members of the public can call the MOM safety hotline at 6317 1111 or email to report WSH issues. All tip-offs will be kept strictly confidential.
  9. The public can also provide feedback on WSH matters through the Snap@MOM mobile application. Launched in April 2012, the app is supported by both iPhone and Android mobile phones and can be downloaded from the App Store / Google Play Store. All photos uploaded to through Snap@MOM will be sent to participating workplace occupiers for implementation of safety measures.

Annex A - Workplace Accidents in December 2012
Annex B - Prosecution Cases under the Workplace Safety and Health Act in December 2012