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Workplace Safety and Health - mixed performance in 1H2018

Fewer non-fatal incidents, but no sustained reduction in fatalities yet

  1. There were 18 workplace fatalities in 1H 2018, fewer than the 23 in 2H 2017, but one more than in 1H 2017. The 12-month rolling fatal injury rate was 1.3 per 100,000 employed persons as at end June 2018, similar to the rate as at end June 2017. Including non-fatal cases, there were fewer workplace injuries, dangerous occurrences and occupational diseases in 1H 2018 compared to 2H 2017 and 1H 2017 across all sectors.

    Table 1: Number of workplace incidents
       1H 2017  2H 2017  1H 2018
     Overall Workplace Injuries  6,211  6,287  6,032
     Fatal Injuries  19  23  18
     Major Injuries  284  290  285
     Minor Injuries  5,908  5,974  5,727
     Dangerous Occurrences  20  15  9
     Occupational Diseases (OD)  471  328  294

Fewer fatal and major injuries in manufacturing and transport and storage, but more in construction

  1. Among the sectors that have accounted for the most fatal and major injuries in recent years, there are signs of improvement in manufacturing and transport and storage. The construction sector, however, saw an increase in fatal and major injuries from 53 in 1H 2017, to 69 in 2H 2017, to 70 in 1H 2018. The construction sector was the top contributor to workplace fatalities (seven cases), followed by the manufacturing sector (three cases).

    Table 2: Fatal and Major Injuries in construction, manufacturing and transport and storage
         1H 2017  2H 2017  1H 2018
     Construction  Fatal Injuries  2  10  7
     Major Injuries  51  59  64
     Fatal + Major Injuries  53  69  72
     Manufacturing  Fatal Injuries  5  2  3
     Major Injuries  65  59  51
     Fatal + Major Injuries  70  61  55
     Transport & Storage  Fatal Injuries  3  4  1
     Major Injuries  27  33  21
     Fatal + Major Injuries  30  37  22

Fewer vehicular-related fatalities, but falls are a concern

  1. There were encouraging signs of reduction in vehicular-related fatalities, the top cause of workplace fatalities annually since 2013. There were four fatalities from vehicular-related incidents in 1H 2018, down from seven in both 1H 2017 and 2H 2017. However, falls remained a concern, with seven fatalities from falls in 1H 2018, compared to eight in 2H 2017, and four in 1H 2017. More than half of the fatalities from falls (four cases) in 1H 2018 occurred in construction.

    Table 3: Leading causes of fatal injuries in 1H 2018
     1H 2017  2H 2017  1H 2018
     Falls - Falls from Heights  2  6  4
     Falls - Slips, Trips & Falls  2  2  3
     Vehicular-related Incidents  7  7  4
  2. Falls was the top cause of major injuries in 1H 2018 with 142 cases, an increase from 1H 2017 (112 cases) and 2H 2017 (128 cases). Machinery-related incidents, a leading cause of major injuries, remained stable with 36 cases in 1H 2018, compared to 39 cases in 1H 2017 and 35 cases in 2H 2017. Falls, machinery-related incidents and vehicular-related incidents accounted for 71% of all major injuries in 1H 2018 (202 out of 285 cases).

    Table 4: Leading causes of major injuries in 1H 2018
     1H 2017  2H 2017  1H 2018
     Falls - Falls from Heights  35  28  33
     Falls - Slips, Trips & Falls  77  100  109
     Machinery-related Incidents  39  35  36
     Vehicular-related Incidents  22  19  24

Reduction in Dangerous Occurrences and Occupational Diseases

  1. The number of Dangerous Occurrences (DO), which are incidents with a high potential for multiple fatalities, continued to decline from 20 cases in 1H 2017 to 15 cases in 2H 2017 and to nine in 1H 2018. Most of these incidents involved crane safety.
  2. The total number of Occupational Diseases (OD) dropped 38% from 471 OD cases in 1H 2017 to 294 OD cases in 1H 2018. The top three Occupational Diseases in 1H 2018 were Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSD), Noise Induced Deafness (NID) and Occupational Skin Diseases. WRMSD overtook NID as the leading OD in 1H 2018, though the volume of WRMSD and NID declined by 14% and 48% respectively from 1H 2017. The number of cases of Occupational Skin Disease also decreased, from 50 cases in 1H 2017 to 21 cases in 1H 2018.

    Table 5: Dangerous Occurrences and leading causes of Occupational Diseases
       1H 2017  2H 2017  1H 2018
     Dangerous Occurrences  20  15  9
     Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders  182  155  157
     Noise Induced Deafness  196  133  102
     Occupational Skin Diseases  50  28  21

Engagement and Enforcement Operations

  1. The Ministry of Manpower and Workplace Safety and Health Council stepped up enforcement and engagement efforts in the first half of 2018, targeting the three priority areas – falls prevention, vehicular safety and machinery safety – and sectors that saw more fatal injuries, such as the construction sector.
  2. MOM conducted more than 2,600 inspections during this time to send a strong deterrent signal and to educate companies on workplace hazards. Close to 1,500 inspections were carried out for the construction sector, with most of the remainder targeted at other sectors of higher injury risk such as manufacturing, and transport and storage. Arising from the inspections conducted in 1H 2018, more than 5,000 Workplace Safety and Health contraventions were uncovered and 40 Stop-Work Orders (SWO) issued. The average duration of SWOs issued was four weeks. Composition fines amounting to a total of $800,000 were imposed on 350 companies during this period. The top contraventions uncovered were situations that created fall risks such as failure to cover or guard openings and open sides at height, and failure to provide safe means of entry and exit from any area in the workplace. Two other enforcement operations focusing on falls prevention, covering 400 construction worksites, and on slip, trip and fall hazards covering 200 workplaces in other sectors, will commence soon.
  3. Commenting on the workplace safety and health outcomes in the first half of 2018, Director of Policy, Information and Corporate Services Department Mr Christopher Koh said, “There was some progress in WSH performance for the first half of this year, but we still need to do better, especially in the construction sector and the prevention of falls. I would like to remind employers and workers not to be complacent, and that rushing work without due care for safety can harm workers and hurt the bottom-line.”