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Lowest workplace fatality rate since 2004

Attained WSH2018 Plan’s target of a workplace fatality rate of less than 1.8 by 2018

  1. There were 42 workplace fatalities in 2017, down from 66 in 2016, resulting in a fatal injury rate of 1.2 per 100,000 employed persons. This was a significant improvement after fatal injury rates stagnated at 1.9 per 100,000 employed persons in 2015 and 2016. It met the target set in 2008 under the WSH2018 Plan, to have a workplace fatal injury rate of less than 1.8 per 100,000 employed persons by 20181. It was also the lowest fatal injury rate since 2004, the earliest year fatality rate data is available on a comparable basis.

    Overview of workplace injuries & occupational diseases
  2. There were also fewer workplace injuries and dangerous occurrences in 2017 compared to 2016. However, the number of occupational diseases (ODs) increased from 732 cases in 2016 to 799 in 2017.

    Table 1: Number of workplace incidents
      2015 2016 2017
    Overall Workplace Injuries 12,351 13,014 12,498
    Fatal Injuries 66 66 42
    Major Injuries 597 594 574
    Minor Injuries 11,688 12,354 11,882
    Dangerous Occurrences 46 45 35
    Occupational Diseases (OD) 935 732 799
  3. Fatal injuries declined across multiple sectors in 2017 compared to 2016, such as in the construction, transportation & storage, manufacturing, marine, and cleaning & landscape maintenance sectors.

    Table 2: Number of workplace fatal injuries by sector
      2015 2016 2017
    Construction 27 24 12
    Transportation & Storage 15 11 7
    Manufacturing 6 9 7
    Wholesale & Retail 2 3 3
    Marine 4 6 2
    Cleaning & Landscape Maintenance 5 5 2
    Others 7 8 9
  4. Vehicular-related incidents2, falls and machinery-related incidents remained the top causes of fatal injuries in 2017, even though the number of these cases (29) reduced significantly compared to 2016 (45). They were also key contributors to major injuries. MOM will continue to focus on the reduction of vehicular incidents, falls and machinery incidents as priority areas in 2018.

    Table 3: Leading causes of fatal injuries
      2015 2016 2017
    Vehicular-related Incidents 21 22 14
    Falls – Falls from Heights 14 13 8
    Falls – Slips, Trips & Falls 9 6 4
    Machinery-related Incidents3 3 4 3
    Collapse of Formwork/Failure of its Supports 1 2 3

    Table 4: Leading causes of major injuries in 2017
      2015 2016 2017
    Falls – Slips, Trips & Falls 153 173 177
    Falls – Falls from Heights 102 73 63
    Machinery-related Incidents 58 50 45
    Struck by Falling Objects 63 33 44
    Vehicular-related Incidents 51 50 41
    Exposure To/Contact with Extreme Temperatures 45 30 41
  5. The increase in occupational diseases in 2017 was driven by the higher number of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSD), Noise Induced Deafness (NID) and Occupational Skin Diseases incidences. The number of WRMSD and NID cases accounted for 83% of all Occupational Diseases this year. The number of Occupational Skin Disease rose by 66% to 78 cases from the 47 cases in 2016. MOM will be enhancing its targeted programmes to prevent the occurrences of these Occupational Diseases. This include efforts on reducing excessive noise at source, improving ergonomics and strengthening the management of hazardous chemicals at workplaces.

    Table 5: Top Three Occupational Diseases
      2015 2016 2017
    Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders 304 316 337
    Noise Induced Deafness 498 322 329
    Occupational Skin Disease 89 47 78
  6. Commenting on the higher number of ODs, Executive Director of the Workplace Safety & Health Institute, Dr Gan Siok Lin said, “There is a need to manage workplace health the same way we manage workplace safety. Health affects safety and vice versa, so companies should take an integrated approach to enhance both their safety and health management capabilities. We can address workplace injuries and occupational diseases more robustly when there is greater WSH ownership among all stakeholders - employers, employees and industry. A safe and healthy workplace is everyone’s responsibility.”

    Enforcement Operations & Engagement Efforts
  7. In 2017, the Workplace Safety and Health Council ramped up outreach and engagement efforts, especially in sectors that saw more fatal injuries, like construction and transportation & storage. This was complemented by targeted enforcement operations by MOM’s WSH inspectors, especially in workplaces with high probabilities of vehicular incidents, falls, and machinery incidents. About 16,000 inspections were conducted in 2017. A total of 71 stop-work orders, more than 1,200 fines and over 9,000 notices of non-compliance were issued. We will sustain the pace of enforcement operations and engagement in 2018.
  8. Workplace Safety and Health Council’s General Manager, Mr Patrick Han said, “While the outcome is encouraging, we must not be complacent. The WSH Council will continue stepping up its effort to promote the culture of care through Total WSH, instilling the mind-set of prevention through Vision Zero that all ill health and accidents are preventable and strengthening the trust between workers, employers and the Government through tripartism.”


  1. Please refer to ANNEX for time series data on fatality rates and timeline of WSH enhancements since 2004.
  2. Vehicle-related incidents consist of being struck by moving vehicles in workplaces, work-related traffic incidents on public roads, and being caught in between vehicles.
  3. Machinery-related incidents consist of being caught in/between industrial machines or lifting equipment, and being struck by moving equipment or industrial tools.