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Home>Health & Wellbeing>General Health & Wellbeing>WSH says workplace injuries declined in 2017

WSH says workplace injuries declined in 2017

25 June 2018

THE WORKPLACE Safety and Health (WSH) Institute has announced that there were fewer workplace fatalities and injuries in the first half of 2017 in Singapore.

There were 19 workplace fatalities in the first half of 2017, down from 24 in second half of 2016, and 42 in first half of 2016. The manufacturing sector was the top contributor to workplace fatalities (5 cases) followed by construction sector (2 cases). There were fewer workplace injuries in first half of 2017 (6,151) compared to second half of 2016 (6,769) and first half of 2016 (6,245). However, the number of confirmed Occupational Disease cases increased from 341 cases in second half of 2016 to 467 cases in first half of 2017.

The manufacturing sector accounted for the highest number (1,431 cases) of workplace injuries and occupational diseases. This was followed by the construction, accommodation and food service activities, and transportation and storage sectors. In total, these four sectors accounted for 54% of workplace injuries (3,300 out of 6,151) and 73% of the occupational diseases (340 out of 467) in first half of 2017.  

Vehicular-related incidents and falls continued to be the top causes of workplace fatalities. There were 7 fatalities from vehicular-related incidents in first half of 2017, down from 12 in second half of 2016.  There were 4 fatalities from falls in first half of 2017, up from 3 in second half of 2016. The other causes of fatalities included fires/explosions, drowning, collapse of formwork, struck by falling objects, struck by moving objects (excluding vehicles), exposure to extreme temperatures and exposure to hazardous substances.

Falls was also the top cause of major injuries in first half of 2017 with 111 cases, or 41% of all major injuries, even though there was a reduction of 14% in the number of cases from second half of 2016.

The top three Occupational Diseases in first half of 2017 were Noise Induced Deafness (NID), Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders and Occupational Skin Diseases. NID cases rose by 84% to 195 cases from the 106 cases in 2H 2016, accounting for 42% of Occupational Diseases in first half of 2017. The number of cases of Occupational Skin Disease doubled, likely due to greater awareness of reporting requirements. Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will continue outreach efforts to engage industries in managing their health hazards.

Executive director of Workplace Safety & Health Institute, Dr Gan Siok Lin commented: “While the number of fatalities had dropped compared to 1H 2016, we should continue to be vigilant. There is a need for added focus on vehicular safety given the higher incidence of fatality due to vehicular-related incidents. The increase in Occupational Disease cases also suggests that more effort is needed to manage health hazards in the workplace. I would like to remind employers and workers to focus on improving risk communication, supervision and work coordination as our analysis of fatal and major injuries had revealed these to be the main gaps.”

In the first half of 2017, MOM conducted over 2,800 inspections.  400 of these inspections focused on workplace traffic management practices in warehouses, storage yards, factories and construction sites. Another 400 targeted work at height activities in the construction, manufacturing, marine & transport and storage industries.

Arising from these inspections, 4,300 Workplace Safety and Health violations were uncovered and 28 Stop-Work Orders (SWO) issued. The average duration of SWOs issued was four weeks. Composition fines amounting to a total of $500,000 were imposed on 190 companies during this period. The three top violations were work at height-related (25%), unsafe storage and improper housekeeping (25%) and poor machine safety (15%).