With immediate effect, maids will not be allowed to clean the window exteriors of high-rise HDB flats or apartments unless supervised.
In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the Ministry of Manpower said this new rule will apply to all homes, except for windows that are at the ground level or along common corridors.
[To ban or not to ban?]
There are two conditions, however, for an exception to the rule: 1) that the employer or adult representative of the employer is physically present to supervise the maid and 2) that window grilles have been installed and are locked at all times during the cleaning process.
To deter employers from failing to ensure proper safety guidelines are followed, the MOM aims to double the penalties for errant employers from the existing S$5,000 fine and/or six months’ jail to S$10,000 fine and/or 12 months’ jail.
MOM will be sending a circular to all employers of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) on the new safety requirements.
The MOM added that since the start of the year, nine maids have died from work-related falls. Only four were reported in 2011 and eight in 2010.
Investigations showed that five of the nine who died were related to unsafe window cleaning practices, while two arose from hanging laundry. The other two are pending investigation.
By Lavinia Mo HONG KONG (Reuters) - The new H7N9 bird flu virus can be transmitted between mammals not only via direct contact but also in airborne droplets, and may be capable of spreading from person to person, Chinese and American researchers have found. A study published in the journal Science and presented at a briefing in Hong Kong on Friday found that three ferrets - an animal often used for research on flu - that were in the same cage as ferrets infected with H7N9 had contracted the disease. ...