A Bangladeshi worker passed away on Wednesday (Dec 7) after being hit by a tree trunk, marking the 43rd workplace fatality in 2022.

A tree trunk being hoisted onto a truck dislodged when the incident happened, hitting the 28-year-old and causing him to fall and hit his head against the pavement. His death takes the total number of workplace fatalities to 43, the highest number since 2017.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that the fatal accident happened in Toa Payoh East, near 1003 Toa Payoh Industrial Park, at about 3:30 pm on Wednesday.

The man was employed by Penta Landscape and worked on loading tree trunks onto a truck after tree pruning works, reported The Straits Times.

He used a lorry crane to carry out the lifting operation; however, one tree trunk slipped from the lifting sling and hit the worker. He was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital while unconscious and eventually passed away from injuries.

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MOM has ordered Penta Landscape to cease all tree pruning and lifting activities while it investigates the accident. The police are also investigating what happened, although preliminary findings show no foul play was involved.

As a general safety measure, all loads must be properly rigged and secured by a competent rigger before lifting operations, said MOM.

The fatal accident comes after the agency implemented tougher sanctions to minimize the increasing number of workplace deaths.

Companies now have to engage external auditors to review management systems if they received stop-work orders in the past or have workers who suffered from major injuries on the job.

The composition fines for offences observed during safety inspections have also been doubled in June.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said in a Facebook post on Thursday (Dec 8) that companies should make every worker an advocate of Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) practices.

“Workers on the ground are most familiar with the ground practices and are first to notice if something is amiss. They are also in a good position to suggest improvements to work processes that can make the work safer,” he noted.

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At the same time, MOM will strengthen WSH governance by requiring companies to send all their WSH Coordinators for refresher training every other year.

This way, WSH coordinators, who are entrusted with the role of ensuring that WSH risks are identified and addressed, are kept up-to-date with the latest WSH technology and processes, he added. /TISG

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ByHana O