Workplace safety is a paramount concern in Singapore, and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has recently released statistics highlighting their efforts to enhance safety standards. In the first half of 2023, there were 14 workplace deaths and 311 major workplace injuries. While these numbers have improved compared to previous periods, MOM recognizes the need for targeted interventions to further reduce workplace accidents. This blog will delve into MOM’s initiatives and the sectors they are focusing on to ensure a safer working environment.
Improvements Since 2022:
MOM’s heightened safety measures, implemented between September 2022 and May 2023, have yielded positive outcomes. The number of deaths and major injuries has decreased from 18 deaths and 316 injuries in the second half of 2022 to 14 deaths and 311 injuries in the first half of 2023.
Focus on High-Risk Sectors:
Despite improvements, MOM remains concerned about specific sectors, namely construction, transportation, storage, and manufacturing, which collectively accounted for 13 out of the 14 deaths in the first half of 2023 and 62% of all major injuries.
In the construction sector, MOM identified that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) faced more challenges in ensuring workplace safety. Addition, alteration, and renovation works contributed to 67% of all workplace deaths and major injuries in this sector during the first half of 2023. To address this, MOM is working with relevant agencies and industry partners to raise safety standards for contractors involved in smaller-scale construction work. Additionally, they will increase inspections at smaller construction sites.
In the manufacturing sector, MOM identified metalworking as a significant contributor to major injuries, with 43% of all workplace deaths and major injuries originating from this sub-sector in the first half of 2023. To combat this, MOM plans to prioritize inspections at metalworking worksites.
Demerit Point System:
Starting from October 1, 2023, a demerit point system will be extended to manufacturing companies, similar to the one already in place for the construction sector. Companies accumulating demerit points for safety breaches may face temporary bans from hiring new foreign employees, lasting from three months to two years.
MOM is conducting enforcement operations in high-risk sectors, focusing on vehicular safety, working at heights, and machinery safety. This proactive approach aims to mitigate workplace accidents by ensuring compliance with safety regulations.
Leading Causes of Workplace Incidents:
MOM highlighted falls from height and the collapse or failure of structures and equipment as the leading causes of workplace deaths in the first half of 2023. Slips, trips, and falls were the top causes for both major and minor injuries, followed closely by incidents involving machinery.
The first half of 2023 saw an increase in workers developing occupational diseases, including noise-induced deafness and musculoskeletal disorders. MOM attributed this rise to the expansion of an enhanced workplace health surveillance program.
Singapore’s Safety and Health Goal:
With an annualized fatality rate of 0.8 per 100,000 workers in the first half of 2023, Singapore is on track to meet its goal of having less than one death per 100,000 workers by 2028. Only four countries have consistently achieved such a low fatality rate, with Singapore ranking fifth.
While improvements in workplace safety have been achieved, MOM remains committed to further enhancing safety standards. Their targeted interventions and focus on high-risk sectors demonstrate their dedication to creating a safer working environment for all. As Singapore works toward its goal of achieving one of the lowest workplace fatality rates globally, it emphasizes the importance of building a safety culture within organizations, beyond just implementing measures and fines. MOM’s continued efforts will undoubtedly contribute to a safer workplace for all Singaporeans.