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850 enforcement actions taken against companies in enforcement operation targeting machinery safety and amputation hazards

  1. In April and May 2018, the Ministry of Manpower mounted a two-month enforcement operation targeting machinery safety to address hand and finger injuries at the workplace. 380 inspections were conducted at 350 companies in the manufacturing, construction and marine sectors.
  2. The main contraventions were the lack of machine guarding, failing to implement lock-out procedures during maintenance and repair, and inadequate risk assessment relating to machinery safety. 850 enforcement actions were taken against 276 companies, including six Stop-Work Orders and 78 composition fines amounting to $91,000.
  3. The enforcement operation is aimed at reducing machinery related incidents, especially amputations at work and follows the Safe Hands Campaign, which was launched in January 2018. In 2017, machinery-related incidents were the second leading cause of major injuries at the workplace with 74 cases, where workers are struck by, caught in-between, and cut or stabbed by machines and tools. About 90% of these cases resulted in amputation.
  4. In the first five months of 2018, there were 30 machinery-related major injuries. Preliminary findings from these incidents showed that there were inadequate safety provisions at the workplace such as the lack of proper machine guarding and risk management.
  5. Director of Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate Mr Sebastian Tan said, “From 2014 to 2017, the construction, metalworking, and marine sectors were the top three sectors that accounted for most of the machinery-related cases. The majority of these accidents occurred during the use of electrical hand tools, saws and handling of metal items. Employers and supervisors must identify and eliminate machinery risks in their workplaces and proactively communicate the safe use of machinery to workers. The MOM will continue to target inspections in the manufacturing, construction and marine sectors, to ensure that employers improve machinery safety and eliminate amputation risks at workplaces.”
  6. Under the WSH Act, companies that fail to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of their workers can be fined up to $500,000 for the first offence.