The beginning of 2021 seems to want to follow in 2020’s footsteps. Alongside the festivities and hopes for a better year, there’s been a lot of doom and gloom in these mere two months.
Even those toiling away, working hard day and night to build the country we live in are not spared.
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad had noted in a Facebook post yesterday evening (22 Feb) that there have been seven fatal workplace incidents since the start of February, as compared to 30 fatalities for the whole of last year.
“This is extremely alarming, setting a worrying trend for the year ahead,” he added.
7 Workplace Fatalities in February Alone
According to The Straits Times, the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council had said that one worker was involved in a traffic-related accident while the other six had either fallen from heights or were caught between objects.
Mr Zaqy also expressed that such incidents could have been prevented if adequate risk assessment and appropriate safety procedures had been carried out at the site.
Particularly citing an incident where two deceased workers had operated machinery that they were “untrained and authorised”, he cautioned that “contractors…must ensure that only trained and authorised personnel are allowed to operate them.”
As such, the Singapore Contractors Association Ltd and WSH Council have issued a call for a safety time-out (STO) on the use of machinery.
An STO is when an industry reviews the existing safety provisions and implements necessary measures to keep safety practices in check, according to MOM’s official document.
On-site engagement with site personnel and site-specific workshops on recapping basic workplace safety will also be carried out.
WSH Council chairman, Mr John Ng, expressed his concern with the alarming trend, asserting that it was an absolutely unnecessary loss of lives.
Mr Zaqy promised that MOM will continue to strengthen their enforcement and will target the use of machinery and the risk of work-at-heights. More emphasis will also be placed on high-risk areas such as construction, manufacturing and marine industries.
“MOM will not hesitate to take strict enforcement actions against companies who do not have the proper measures in place to safeguard the safety and health of their employees,” he warned.
Besides, workers who operate machinery without appropriate training or authorisation will also face consequences. Work passes for foreign workers who undertake such action may be revoked.
Indeed, all the above measures are crucial to ensure that the workers return home safely and healthily.
This is the one trend that we sincerely hope ends here and now.
Feature Image: (Facebook) Zaqy Mohamad