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MOM: Safety lessons shared with industry

  • The Straits Times (23 August 2013) : MOM: Safety lessons shared with industry
  • The Straits Times (20 August 2013) : Share lessons from past construction accidents

MOM: Safety lessons shared with industry
 - The Straits Times, 23 August 2013

  1. We would like to thank Mr Goh Yang Miang for his suggestion to share the lessons learnt from past construction accidents (“Share lessons from past construction accidents”, ST Forum, 20 August 2013).
  2. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) works closely with the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council to share lessons learnt from past accidents with industry and safety professionals in various ways. One channel is the WSH Bulletin, a free electronic newsletter distributed about thrice weekly, which provides information on best practices and case studies of workplace accidents. Members of the public can subscribe to the WSH Bulletin at Findings from investigations and enforcement operations are also shared at industry conferences and seminars.
  3. As Mr Goh noted, we had issued a circular on Safety Requirements for Formwork Structures in January 2013 following the collapse of formwork at the Downtown Line (DTL) Bugis MRT Station in 2012. The circular addressed urgent formwork safety issues while investigations into the case were underway. We have concluded our investigations and the case is now before the courts. We will share findings with the industry once the case concludes.
  4. We share Mr Goh’s concerns about the safety of the public who live and work near construction sites. Under the WSH Act, contractors and employers have an obligation to ensure the safety of workplaces, as well as the safety of persons who may be affected by such work.
  5. MOM will not hesitate to take action against errant contractors and employers. Members of the public can call the MOM safety hotline at 6317 1111 or email to provide feedback on poor workplace safety and health practices. All information shared will be kept strictly confidential.

Share lessons from past construction accidents
- The Straits Times, 20 August 2013

The formwork collapse that killed a worker last Wednesday ("Worker falls to death after structure collapses"; last Thursday) reminded me of the Bugis MRT worksite accident last year, which killed two workers and left eight others injured ("MRT worksite roof collapses; 2 dead"; July 19, 2012).

Following that accident, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said in Parliament that his ministry was investigating, among other things, whether fatigue and extended working hours could have led to the accident.

This issue continues to be an important area of investigation in any workplace accident.

I am not aware of any public sharing of the lessons learnt from the Bugis MRT accident.

The Manpower Ministry issued a circular on safety requirements for formwork structures earlier this year, but it was a general reminder of existing safety requirements and did not highlight the causes of the Bugis accident.

I urge the ministry to share the investigation findings so as to help the industry learn from past accidents. Even though the recent accident was on a smaller scale, the two-storey framework collapsed onto a public pavement and could have injured or killed passers-by.

In this case, it is important for the ministry to highlight the actions taken to minimise risks to the public within the vicinity of construction worksites.