Workplace Safety and Health Report 2022
WORKPLACE SAFETY & HEALTH REPORT 2022:
SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT AMID A DIFFICULT YEAR, BUT CONCERNS REMAIN
There was an increase in workplace fatalities last year compared to 2021. In 2022, the workplace fatality rate per 100,000 workers was 1.3, as compared to 1.1 in 2021. To mitigate the spate of workplace fatalities in 2022, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) implemented the Heightened Safety Period (HSP) in September. The encouraging development is that during the HSP, the monthly average for fatalities dropped from 4.5 per month to 2.5 per month, translating to an annualised fatality rate of less than 1.0 per 100,000 workers.
2 Notwithstanding the above, some areas of concern remain. The impact of HSP varied across industries. For example, the top contributing sector to both fatal and major injuries - Construction - showed the most improvement, with the monthly average number of fatal and major injuries decreasing during HSP. However, other industries such as Manufacturing saw their monthly average worsen during HSP. To address this, MOM extended the HSP till 31 May 2023, and convened the Multi-Agency Workplace Safety Taskforce (MAST) to identify and implement sectoral strategies to strengthen workplace safety. Overall, there was some improvement in the workplace safety landscape with the introduction of HSP, but continued vigilance is needed. Safety measures announced earlier in February are being implemented and will take effect in the coming weeks and months.
3 Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said: “The HSP measures have worked well to arrest the spate of workplace fatalities in 2022 and the construction sector has seen improvements in reducing workplace accidents. However, the incidence of major injuries did not improve in some sectors such as manufacturing. I call on all employers and workers to remain vigilant. Only with our collective resolve can we get back on track to achieving our WSH 2028 goal of keeping our fatality rate at below 1.0 per 100,000 workers.”
ANNEX A: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Top cause continues to be Vehicular Incidents
There were 15 fatal vehicular incidents in 2022, of which seven were work-related traffic accidents (WRTAs). Incidents with higher fatality risk (Type A) formed 80% of all fatalities in 2022.
Major and Minor Injuries
Overall decline in major and minor injury rate; Slips, Trips and Falls remain the leading cause of non-fatal injuries
Taking into account the growing workforce and HSP measures, the major injury rate per 100,000 workers only trended down slightly from 18.5 in 2021 to 17.3 in 2022. Reported minor injury rate also trended down from 653 in 2021 to 596 per 100,000 workers in 2022.
Major injuries were analysed by incident types, to better prioritise the key areas of concern for more targeted interventions and enforcement. They have been categorised into Type A and B incidents.
Major injuries caused by Type A incidents (i.e., those with a higher risk of fatality such as falls from height and vehicular incidents) accounted for 35% of all major injuries in 2022 and has hovered around this figure in the last five years. Type A incidents are stronger precursors to workplace fatalities. Common root causes of these injuries included inadequate fall prevention measures, unsafe worker behaviours, inadequate traffic management plans, inadequate WSH management systems leading to incompatible works, and inadequate lifting plans.
Major injuries caused by Type B incidents (i.e., those with a lower risk of fatality such as slips, trips and falls, and machinery incidents) accounted for 65% of major injuries. Common root causes included lack of control measures. including machine guarding, non-compliance with safety measures such as bypass of safety interlocks, lack of safety measures to manage flow of goods, lack of provision of suitable tools, or failure to provide anti-slip footwear.
Slips, Trips and Falls (STFs) remained the top cause of non-fatal injuries, accounting for 33% of all major and 28% of all minor injuries. In 2022, there were 200 STF-related major injuries, slightly lower than the 208 in 2021. Falls from height (FFH) incidents were the second common cause for major injuries, accounting for 14% of all major injuries in 2022. There were 86 FFH-related major injuries in 2022, an increase from 63 in 2021. However, FFH incidents are not a common cause for minor injuries. There were 589 falls from height-related minor injuries in 2022 (close to 3%), a decrease from 621 in 2021.
Injuries by Industry
Construction, Transportation & Storage and Manufacturing continue to be top sectoral contributors
Construction, Transportation & Storage and Manufacturing accounted for the highest numbers of fatalities in 2022, at 14, nine and seven workplace fatalities respectively in 2022. Collectively, they accounted for about 65% of all workplace fatalities in 2022.
The workplace fatality rate per 100,000 workers for the Transportation & Storage industry decreased to 3.4 in 2022, from 3.6 in 2021. Similarly, in the Construction industry, the workplace fatality rate per 100,000 workers decreased to 2.9 in 2022, from 3.3 in 2021. In contrast, for Manufacturing, the rate per 100,000 workers rose from 1.0 in 2021 to 1.7 in 2022.
These three industries were also leading industries for major injuries, and accounted for 55% of all major injuries in 2022. Within these industries, SMEs had poorer WSH performance as compared to larger firms.
Increase in Dangerous Occurrences, with collapse/failure of structures and equipment continuing to be main cause
The number of dangerous occurrences (DOs ) increased from 13 in 2021 to 27 in 2022. Amongst the 2022 DO cases, 20 involved Collapse/Failure of Structures & Equipment and 7 involved Fires & Explosion. The increase in 2022 was due to a rise in crane-related incidents. To mitigate this, MOM announced a new $4 million grant in January 2023 to co-fund the installation of stability control systems (SCS) on lorry cranes. Additionally, MOM is reviewing additional measures that would enhance crane operators’ competency, and increase deterrence of unsafe crane-related operations.
Occupational Diseases incidence rate rose
The Occupational Diseases (ODs) incidence rate per 100,000 workers increased from 20.0 cases in 2021, to 29.7 in 2022. This increase was driven by the rise in reported Noise-Induced Deafness (NID) cases due to ongoing Enhanced Workplace Health Surveillance (WHS+) efforts, which heightened awareness of reporting amongst doctors and employers and expanded the surveillance footprint.
Under WHS+, companies with workers found to have higher exposures to toxic substances or noise are required to adopt upstream risk controls and put in place programmes (e.g. Hearing Conservation Programmes, Management of Hazardous Substances Programmes) that effectively reduce health risks. Companies also need to undergo third party audits to ensure their workplace health programmes are effective and submit an audit report to MOM. MOM will continue to increase the number of workplaces under WHS+, as well as collaborate with the WSH Council to increase awareness and implementation of workplace health programmes.
ANNEX B - WSH National Statistics Report & Infographic