Workplace injuries down 25% while fatality cases remain stable: MOM

·3-min read
(Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
There were 16 workplace fatalities in 1H 2020, similar to the 17 deaths seen in 1H 2019 and the 18 deaths seen in 1H 2018. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — The number of workplace injuries between January and June fell by nearly 25 per cent compared with the first half (1H) of last year while the number of workplace fatalities was relatively unchanged over the same period.

The lower number of injuries in 1H 2020 – 4,996 compared with 6,630 in 1H 2019 – is “likely due to the suspension of certain workplace activities” in the second quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a news release on Monday (28 September).

There were 16 workplace fatalities in 1H 2020, similar to the 17 deaths seen in 1H 2019 and the 18 deaths in 1H 2018.

“The 12-month rolling fatal injury rate remained at 1.1 per 100,000 workers as of end June 2020, similar to the rates as of end-June 2019 and end-December 2019,” the ministry added.

MOM said the leading causes of fatal workplace injuries continue to be falls from height and vehicular-related accidents. These categories saw four and three deaths, respectively, in 1H 2020. This compares with the four deaths in each category in 1H 2019.

Among the primary causes of major and minor workplace injuries were slips, trips and falls (STFs), as well as machinery-related accidents. The ministry noted that the number cases in both these categories had fallen significantly.

STFs accounted for 59 major injuries over 1H 2020, compared with 90 major injuries in 1H 2019, and 1,420 minor injuries in 1H 2020, versus 1,772 in 1H 2019. Meanwhile, machinery-related accidents led to 29 major injuries in 1H 2020, compared with 44 in 1H 2019, and 750 minor injuries in 1H 2020, versus 1,075 in 1H 2019.

Injuries by industry

MOM said the transportation and storage industry accounted for the highest number of fatalities in 1H 2020 with five deaths. This saw the industry’s 12-month fatality rate rise to 3.8 per 100,000 workers as of end-June this year from 3.1 per 100,000 workers as of end-December 2019.

The ministry added that closer attention should also be paid to the manufacturing industry, which saw three fatal injuries in 1H 2020 and was the top contributor for major and minor injuries over the same period.

The number of dangerous occurrences also fell to four in 1H 2020 from nine in 1H 2019. Two of these incidents were fire and explosion cases while the other two were crane-related incidents.

In terms of occupational diseases, the number of cases fell to 195 in 1H 2020 from 264 in 1H 2019. Among the top diseases faced were musculoskeletal disorder and noise induced deafness.

MOM also noted that the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) 2028 strategy recommendations will be “progressively implemented to sharpen the commercial impact on companies with unsafe practices”.

“From (the fourth quarter of) 2020, the WSH performance of companies will be published, starting with construction companies. Criteria will also be introduced to disqualify unsafe contractors from all public construction tenders,” said the ministry.

As of 1 September, employers have also been required to report all work accidents that result in medical leave or light duty, added MOM.

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