There were 20 workplace fatalities in the first half of 2018, stemming mainly from construction, manufacturing and commercial diving sector, said Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad in Parliament on 6 August 2018.
Replying to questions from Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC) and Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC), Zaqy Mohamad said that the use of improper work methods was a common cause of deaths.
The MPs’ questions come in the wake of several incidents in June, including a bakery owner’s fatal fall into a dough-making machine and a woman’s death in a cargo hoist accident at a food caterer, as reported in The Straits Times.
Workplace fatalities in the construction sector have declined over the past five years from 34 in 2013 to 12 in 2017. Foreigners constituted 88 per cent of the fatalities, even though they comprised 75 per cent of the construction workforce.
Zaqy said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has engaged industry associations and foreign workers and ramped up enforcement operations to raise awareness of accident risks at their workplaces.
In May 2018, MOM announced an additional 750 safety inspections after a spate of workplace fatalities and serious injuries. About 80 per cent of these inspections have been completed, with six stop-work orders issued, along with 164 composition fines amounting to SGD188,750.
“We hope that this sends a strong message to the construction sector to be more vigilant especially since they have contributed a significant amount of fatalities to the workplaces this year,” Zaqy said. — Construction+ Online