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Fewer workplace injuries due to reduced economic activities in 1H 2020

Fatalities remain similar to past two years

  1. The number of workplace injuries fell by nearly 25%, from 6,630 in the first half (1H) of 2019 to 4,996 in 1H 2020, likely due to the suspension of certain workplace activities in 2Q 2020 due to COVID-19. 

  2. However, there were 16 workplace fatalities in the 1H 2020, similar to that in 1H 2019 (17) and 1H 2018 (18). The 12-month rolling fatal injury rate remained at 1.1 per 100,000 workers as of end June 2020, similar to the rates as of end June 2019 and end December 2019. This was despite a reduction of workplace activities due to COVID-19 in the second quarter (2Q) of 2020.


    Leading causes continue to be ‘Falls from Height’ and ‘Vehicular-Related Incidents’


  3. Falls from height remain a key concern with four fatalities in 1H 2020, the same as 1H 2019 (See Table 2 in Annex). Vehicular-related fatalities fell from four cases in 1H 2019 to three cases in 1H 2020.


    ‘Slips, Trips and Falls’ and ‘Machinery-Related Incidents’ remained as leading causes of major and minor incidents, but number of cases fell significantly


  4. Slips, trips and falls (STF) remained the top cause of both major and minor injuries, although the number of cases fell significantly. STF accounted for 58 major injuries in 1H 2020, down from 90 in 1H 2019, while STF-related minor injuries fell from 1,772 in 1H 2019 to 1,450 in 1H 2020 (See Tables 3 and 4 in Annex).

  5. Machinery-related incidents continued to be the second-most common cause of major and minor injuries. There were 29 machinery-related major injuries in 1H 2020, down from 44 in 1H 2019, while machinery-related minor injuries dropped to 780 in 1H 2020, down from 1,075 in 1H 2019.


    Vigilance needed in Transportation & Storage, Construction and Manufacturing industries

  6. The Transportation & Storage industry accounted for the highest number of fatalities (five cases) in 1H 2020. Its 12-month fatality rate also increased from 3.1 per 100,000 workers as of end-December 2019 to 3.8 as of end-June 2020. Its total number of fatal and major injuries (31) remained similar to that in 1H 2019 (35) and 2H 2019 (30) (See Table 5 in Annex).

  7. Closer attention should also be paid to the Manufacturing industry, the second-highest contributor of fatal injuries in 1H 2020 (three cases). It was also the top contributor for major and minor injuries in 1H 2020, with 40 and 971 cases respectively.

  8. The number of dangerous occurrences (DOs) fell from nine in 1H 2019 to four in 1H 2020 (See Table 6 in Annex). Two were fire and explosion cases; the other two were crane-related incidents.

  9. The total number of Occupational Diseases (ODs) cases fell by 26%, from 264 in 1H 2019 to 195 in 1H 2020. The top two ODs were work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WRMSD) and noise induced deafness (NID), which jointly account for 92% of all OD cases in 1H 2020.


    Engaging companies to ensure safety from COVID-19 and workplace accidents

  10. The WSH Council has been engaging industries on restarting work safely following the lifting of the Circuit Breaker. This has been done through industry e-forums, webinars and campaigns to advise companies on both safe management measures, and additional precautionary WSH measures.

  11. To generate greater awareness, the WSH Council has also sent out regular WSH bulletins and social media posts as reminders to companies to ensure safe re-opening of projects and businesses across industries. The WSH Council has also released digital training materials on WSH and COVID-19 prevention to help firms adapt to the new normal. Since May 2020, the WSH Council has also kickstarted a series of campaigns targeting the accident hotspots of machinery safety, vehicular safety, and slips, trips and falls.

    Implementing WSH 2028 initiatives to improve transparency and accountability

  12. The WSH 2028 strategy recommendations will be progressively implemented to sharpen the commercial impact on companies with unsafe practices. From 4Q 2020, the WSH performance of companies will be published, starting with construction companies. Criteria will also be introduced to disqualify unsafe contractors from all public construction tenders. From 1 September 2020, employers have also been required to report all work accidents that result in medical leave or light duty.

    Driving greater WSH technology innovation and adoption  

  13. WSH Council has also been facilitating and encouraging companies to innovate and adopt WSH technologies. MOM has partnered with IMDA, BCA and ESG to make the following suite of WSH-related technologies available to companies with grant funding support:
    1. Electronic permit-to-work (e-PTW), which enables contractors to submit, track and monitor their PTW applications digitally through a centralised system. e-PTW is supported by the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG for adoption by small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
    2. Fleet Safety Management Solutions (FSMS), which tracks hazardous driving behaviour and improves situational awareness. SMEs can also tap on PSG to install FSMS on their vehicles. 

    3. STF prevention via IMDA’s Open Innovation Challenge. A prototype is in development to detect STF incidents, near misses and hazards, using a combination of video analytics and wearables.

  14. Commissioner for WSH and Divisional Director of MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health Division Mr Silas Sng said, “As companies restart, they must not rush to make up for lost time. Companies have invested much effort and resources through their Safe Management Measures to keep their workplace and workforce safe from COVID-19. It would be counterproductive if an accident occurs and workers are seriously injured. Workers’ lives are at stake, hence WSH must not be compromised.”


  1. Dangerous occurrences are incidents with a high potential for multiple fatalities.