1H 2022 National Workplace Safety and Health Report Press Release
Higher rate of workplace fatalities in first half of this year despite drop in injuries
1. In the first half of 2022 (1H 2022) there were 28 workplace fatalities, bringing the 6-month fatality rate per 100,000 workers to 0.8. This is higher than in 2H 2021 (0.4) and 1H 2021 (0.7). The top causes for fatalities in 1H 2022 were falls from height and vehicular-related incidents, which made up half of the 28 fatalities. MOM is concerned with the high rate of fatality. To arrest the spate of fatalities, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) introduced a series of new and targeted measures, and called for a six-month period of Heightened Safety from 1 September 2022 to 28 February 2023.
2. The total number of reported workplace injuries (i.e. fatalities, major injuries and minor injuries1) in 1H 2022 was 10,429 – 4.5% lower than 2H 2021 (10,915) and 7.5% lower than 1H 2021 (11,271). This was driven by a decline in the number of both major and minor injuries.
Major and Minor2 Injuries
Major injury rate below pre-COVID levels; Slips, Trips and Falls remain leading cause for both major and minor injuries
3. The major injury rate per 100,000 workers for 1H 2022 fell to 8.7, from 8.9 in 2H 2021 and 9.6 in 1H 2021, and is lower compared to pre-COVID levels3. In absolute numbers, there were 297 major injuries in 1H 2022, compared to 294, 316 and 319 in 2H 2021, 1H 2021 and 1H 2019 respectively. However, major injuries are still a concern as they reflect persistent safety lapses at workplaces.
4. Similarly, there were fewer minor injuries in 1H 2022 (10,104) compared to 2H 2021 (10,607) and 1H 2021 (10,932). The 6-month injury rate per 100,000 workers was 296 in 1H 2022, lower than the 322 in 2H 2021 and 331 in 1H 2021.
5. Slips, Trips and Falls remained the leading cause for both major and minor injuries, accounting for 95 of the 297 major injuries, and 2,887 of the 10,104 minor injuries.
Key Focal Areas
Construction was biggest contributor for both fatalities and major injuries
6. With 10 fatalities in 1H 2022 and a 6-month fatality rate of 2.3 per 100,000 workers, the Construction industry accounted for the highest number of fatalities. It was also the biggest contributor of major injuries, with 84 cases and a 6-month major injury rate of 19.1 per 100,000 workers. Further breakdown of fatalities and major injuries by industry are in Annex A.
7. MOM has stepped up enforcement efforts in the construction industry. From January 2022 to mid-September 2022, we issued 63 Stop-Work Orders (SWO) to worksites in the Construction industry with unsafe conditions and practices that posed imminent danger to the workers. For instance:
a. A full SWO was imposed on Wah Khiaw Developments Pte Ltd on 11 August 2022, where we found multiple unsafe practices – workers were observed to be working at heights without barricades or fall arrest systems, unsafe formworks and unsafe means of access (see Annex B for photos). In addition, they were issued fines amounting to $15,000 for breaches found.
b. Most recently, a full SWO was issued to construction company KG Plasterceil Pte Ltd on 6 September 2022 for multiple unsafe scaffolds and unsafe work at heights at the worksite (see Annex B), and MOM is assessing the need for and extent of further penalties. This was in spite of MOM’s calls for employers and workers to step up on safety practices during the Heightened Safety period.
c. These companies will have to engage external auditors to conduct a thorough review of their WSH management systems, and rectify the lapses found at the worksite before MOM assesses whether to lift the SWO for works to resume.
8. To further raise safety standards, MOM has also announced the introduction of a new set of harmonised disqualification criteria across public sector construction tenders from 1 October 2022, in addition to lower thresholds for issuing demerit points to companies found to have breached the Workplace Safety and Health Act.
Worrying rise in vehicular-related fatal accidents
9. The number of vehicular-related fatal accidents has been rising over the last one and a half years. There were 7 in 1H 2022 (of which 4 were work-related traffic accidents), 5 in 2H 2021, and 6 in 1H 2021. This is a worrying trend. As such, the recent mandatory Safety Time-out from 1 September to 15 September 2022 targeted companies in high-risk industries with higher number of fatalities (Construction, Manufacturing, Marine, Process and Transport & Storage) as well as companies in other industries that use heavy or industrial vehicles. They were required to review their safety procedures, or face debarment from employing new foreign employees for one month if found to be non-compliant.
Number of Dangerous Occurrences Rose
10. The number of dangerous occurrences, which are incidents with a high potential for multiple casualties, more than doubled from 6 in 2H 2021 to 13 in 1H 2022, the highest in the past three years4. 9 occurrences were due to collapse or failure of structures and equipment, mostly in the Construction industry.
Building Safer Workplaces is a Shared Responsibility
11. MOM calls on all stakeholders, from top management to supervisors, to workers and members of the public, to do their utmost to prevent further deaths and injuries, and build safer workplaces. Read the full report at go.gov.sg/1h2022nwsh