It’s not controversial to say that we should treat our migrant workers better than we do.
The Covid-19 outbreak in Singapore has brought to light their abhorrent living conditions, such as cramped rooms, filthy communal bathrooms, and a lack of proper ventilation, all of which have facilitated the spread of the coronavirus.
An extended period indoors under lockdown has also affected the mental state of many workers, with increasing reports of suicides and attempted suicides since the start of the circuit breaker.
Now, yet another concerning issue has cropped up: workplace safety.
Migrant Worker Died After Falling Through Wooden Planks; Had Just Started Work After CB
A 32-year-old Bangladeshi worker died last Monday (3 Aug) after falling through an opening in the floor where he was carrying out addition and alteration works.
According to The New Paper, the Bangladeshi had resumed work just a month ago after the circuit breaker and was working on the second storey of a building at 605 MacPherson Road.
He had removed some wooden planks which covered the opening when he fell through it and landed on the first storey.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which was alerted to the incident at 8.45 am, rushed the man to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Sadly, the 32-year-old succumbed to his injuries.
Speaking to TNP, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the worker was an employee of Siong Construction and Engineering.
The occupier of the worksite is G.T.H. Engineering and Construction and the developer is Wujie Times Square.
All structural works at the accident site have stopped and investigations are ongoing.
Similar Accident Occurred in Nov 2019
A similar accident took place last year in November when a migrant worker fell to his death while carrying out housekeeping works at a building along Balestier Road.
The 30-year-old Indian national fell through a partition board, falling from level 1 to basement 1 at 360 Balestier Road, Shaw Plaza.
A total of 8 workers died as a result of a fall from height in 2018, down from 24 in 2009.
Comprehensive Risk Assessment Necessary
After the death of the Bangladeshi worker, the Workplace Safety and Health Council issued a reminder via bulletin to industry players to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment before starting addition and alteration works.
This risk assessment should ensure that:
- Floor openings have been identified and securely covered or guarded
- Any areas with such openings should be clearly demarcated or barricaded to prevent unauthorised access
- Warning signs are put up to alert workers of a fall hazard
According to TNP, the number of workplace fatalities has decreased from 39 in 2019 to 18 this year.
The workplace fatality rate, which is now 1.1 for every 100,000 workers, is the lowest since 2004.
Hopefully the authorities will address all the issues plaguing our migrant workers at the moment, because we’re evidently not doing enough.