Singapore – By early October, the workplace death toll for the year had already equalled the total for all of 2020, with three more months yet to go.
At that point, as Radin Mas MP Melvin Yong pointed out, last month, the nine deaths in construction, and eight in logisticss and transportation already made up more than half the year’s grim workplace toll.
These aren’t just numbers, he said. “The workers leave behind loved ones, mouths to feed, and questions to be answered,” said Mr Yong, who is the National Trades Union Congress director
On Monday (Nov 15), a migrant worker from India fell to his death from the fourth storey of a construction site in Boon Lay, bringing the total number of fatal accidents this year to 33.
And there are still some six weeks to go before the end of the year.
The 35-year-old man worked for Success Engineering and Steel on a project at 22 Chin Bee Road, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM). He had apparently been trying to board a boom lift platform when he slipped and fell.
He was taken to the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where he died from his injuries, reported The Straits Times.
MOM has ordered Logistics Construction, which is in charge of the worksite, to stop work on site while investigations are carried out. This company is on the list of factories and work sites issued with a Stop Work Order from Jan 1, 2021, to Oct 28, 2021, according to MOM’s website.
It is the second time this year that Logistics Construction Pte Ltd has been issued a stop work order; the first was from June 22 to July 9.
Success Engineering and Steel took to Facebook on Oct 17 this year to announce the project.
“Another challenging ongoing project including roofing works in a professional manner by coordinating with all stakeholders,” the company noted.
The Workplace Safety and Health Council has provided a code of practice for working safely at heights, including measures to prevent falls from high areas.
Occupiers of a worksite are required to implement a fall prevention plan to eliminate or reduce the risks of falls.
Significantly, the code of practice states that mobile elevated work platforms such as boom lifts are not designed for workers to enter or exit at a height.
Using a mobile elevated work platform only becomes an option if entering and exiting the area at a height is not prohibited by the platform manufacturer, and there are no other alternative access paths.
In such cases, the risk needs to be thoroughly assessed before workers can use the mobile elevated work platform.
Employers are also advised to provide individual fall arrest systems like safety harnesses for employees working at height and educate them on the proper use of the device./TISG
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