Important Fatalities Number Shows Decline, Overall Injuries Increase in Singapore

Fatalities, Major Injuries, Days Lost All See Decreases

 

A new report on Singapore indicates the number of workplace fatalities and major injuries has dropped in the first half this year.

 

According to the latest Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Statistics Report, there were 26 workplace fatalities over the first six months of 2012, a decrease from 31 in the same period last year.

 

There were 246 cases of major injuries, a slight decrease of 3 percent compared to the same period last year. This contributed to a 6 percent dip in man-days lost due to work incidents.

 

 

Minor Injuries See 11.3% Increase

 

As for minor injuries, there were 5,001 cases, or a 11.3 percent jump compared to the same period last year.

 

Overall workplace injuries – which includes fatalities – grew by 10.4 percent.

 

Occupational diseases (ODs) also increased by nearly 67 percent to 603, from 360 over the same period last year. The most common OD (89 percent) is noise-induced deafness followed by occupational skin diseases. The manufacturing sector continued to tally the largest number of OD cases, accounting for 51 percent of total ODs, up from 39 percent of cases as at end June last year.

 

 

Construction, Marine, and Manufacturing See Decreases in Fatalities

 

The Construction, Marine and Manufacturing sectors saw a drop in the number of fatalities.

 

There were 17 fatalities, compared to 25 in the same period last year. However these three sectors saw an increase in major injuries (8 percent) and minor injuries (25 percent).

 

Other sectors (including accommodation, food services, waste management, logistics and transport) contributed to about 35 percent of total work fatalities in the first half of this year, up from 19 percent in the same period last year.

 

Many of these cases were slips, trips and falls from heights as well as workers struck by moving or falling objects.

 

As for major injuries, these sectors witnessed a 14 percent decline while minor injuries saw a marginal 2 percent increase. The logistics and transport, accommodation and food services as well as health sectors accounted for 13 percent of major injuries.

 

 

<pAuthor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 


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©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Assuming Employees Know Safety Proves Fatal in Singapore

Recently in Singapore’s Subordinate Courts, Madam Gan Hui Leung, a 46-year-old Singaporean foreign domestic worker (FDW) employer, became the first to be convicted this year for failing to ensure the safety of her employee who fell from a height while working and subsequently died from her injuries.

 
 
According to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower, Gan was fined a maximum of $5,000. This is the first case involving a conviction of an FDW employer for safety lapses in 2012. [WCx]
 
 
The Indonesian Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW), Siti Ustima, 25, was employed by Gan for 8 months. One afternoon Siti was cleaning the living room windows of Gan’s fifth story flat in Clementi. Shortly after, there was a loud noise and she was found lying dead on the ground floor.  A wooden chair, a red plastic pail and a cleaning spray were later found next to the living room windows of the flat.
 
 
Investigations revealed that during the employment of Ustima, Gan did not demonstrate or give specific instructions to her on how the windows should be cleaned. The employer assumed that Siti, who was transferred from another employer, would know how to do so.
 
 
Furthermore, Gan had seen Siti cleaning the bedroom and living room windows standing on a stool with the windows and the grilles wide open. Gan did not stop the FDW under such circumstances, nor did she ask the FDW to get off the stool immediately. Gan also did not provide her FDW with an extendable window wiper to clean hard-to-reach areas of the windows.
 
 
For failing to ensure the FDW performed her duties in a manner which does not endanger her life or personal safety, Gan has violated the Work Permit Conditions for the employment of FDWs, which is an offence under section 22(1)(a) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Employers who infringe on these conditions can be fined up to $5,000 or face a jail term of up to six months or both. They will also be permanently barred from employing an FDW in future.
 
 
From 2007 to 2011, 24 FDWs have fallen to their deaths while at work. Fourteen employers were found to have breached the Work Permit conditions for endangering the lives of FDWs. Nine employers were prosecuted and fined up to $5,000, and were permanently barred from hiring FDWs. The remaining employers had their offences compounded. [WCx]
 
 
So far this year, there have been eight cases of fatal falls from FDWs while at work. Investigations are currently on-going for these cases.
 

 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

  
WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Singapore Rolls Out New Initiatives to Address Heights Fatalities

 


Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower and the Workplace Safety and Health Council’s National Work at Heights (WAH) Taskforce recently rolled out new initiatives to address falls from heights, (FFH) fatalities.
 
 
 
Efforts will be focused on four key areas of WAH – roof works, ladder use, structures, and scaffolds or mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs). Industries performing such work will be actively engaged and educated on the safety of such work under the Program-based Engagement (ProBE) Plus initiative this year.
 
 
Falls from Heights (FFH) remain the highest contributor of workplace fatalities, claiming the lives of 17 workers last year. Nine of these workers (or more than half of cases) died after falling from roofs and ladders. The new initiatives are part of a three-pronged WAH Master plan to tackle WAH issues through raising awareness, capability building and intervention efforts.[WCx]
 
 
One of these initiatives is the introduction of a new Guide on Working Safely on Roofs – a concise handbook highlighting safe practices and salient points related to roof works, such as fragile roof hazards. Contractors engaged in roof works will be required to implement measures that can allow workers to work safely on roofs and not be subjected to the risks of falls.
 
 
Measures recommended in the guide include installing independent lifelines, and providing workers with safety harnesses and proper equipment (such as crawl boards) to work on roofs. The guide will be disseminated through the Safety Compliance Assistance Visits to reach out to worksites where roof works are ongoing, to help contractors enhance their safety management. MOM and the WSH Council will also engage both roof and general contractors involved in roof works in targeted workshops over the next few months.
 
 
With the extensive use of ladders across many workplaces, it is critical to educate workers to use them properly. A new Ladder Safety engagement effort has been launched to foster the safe and correct use of ladders. MOM and the WSH Council will be partnering with trade associations and leading hardware stores to distribute a newly developed Ladder Safety Pack targeting trades and industries with high ladder usage such as electrical workers.
 
 
The Pack is made up of a ladder safety handbook and stickers to be distributed to relevant workers. The ladder safety handbook advises workers when they can use ladders for specific jobs and when they should consider other equipment, such as scissor lifts. The stickers serve as prominent displays with key tips on ladder safety, such as the dangers of falling while standing on the top rung of the ladder and the need to ensure that the ladder is positioned on stable ground before use. In addition, other outreach activities will be rolled out in the second half of 2012.
 
 
More will also be done to strengthen WAH capabilities for both management and workers. In this aspect, MOM and WSH Council will develop WAH Courses for all levels, including workers, supervisors, assessors and managers. The courses will ensure that managers and supervisors know how to plan and supervise WAH activities. Workers must also be adequately trained to manage WAH risks and are competent enough to perform their tasks, such as roofs works, in a safe manner. These courses will be piloted in the second half of 2012 and are expected to be rolled out early next year. 
 
 
To bring about further improvements in the industry, MOM will explore the feasibility of enhancing the current WAH regulatory framework by introducing possible new legal requirements.
 
 
Elaborating on this, Hawazi Daipi, senior parliamentary secretary for Education and Manpower, noted “MOM is currently exploring the introduction of a dedicated set of Work at Heights regulations, as we review our existing rules and look to streamline them while addressing areas that could be potentially strengthened.  This includes mandating Fall Prevention Plans for all workplaces and extending the Permit-to-work system, which already exists for Scaffold operations. MOM will be working closely with the WSH Council to engage industry stakeholders in the formulation of the Regulations for efficient and effective solutions, keeping in view industry practices and work environments. We plan to kick off public consultation on the Regulations in the second quarter of 2012.”
 
 
Besides the longer term regulatory enhancements, MOM will continue to crack down on unsafe work at heights practices through stepped up inspections on targeted work places. While we raise awareness and give time to industry to improve their safety measures, we must urge workplaces to immediately put a stop to obvious and dangerous working conditions that can harm workers. Enforcement, engagement as well as capability building efforts will have to work hand-in-hand to reduce work at heights risks,” added Suresh Navaratnam, MOM's director of Policy, Information and Corporate Services from the Occupational Safety and Health Division.
 
 
Chairman of the National Work at Heights Taskforce Wong Weng Sun added, “Falls from Heights is a matter of grave concern as workers can be killed or seriously injured. It can affect workers from all sectors, as we have seen from the 2011 cases. Hence, the Taskforce wants to re-energize and extend our efforts, going far beyond construction sites and shipyards. Industry must be made aware that poor management of work practices puts everything riding on the task – workers’ lives, productivity and reputation – at risk. Stakeholders must immediately take proactive actions and put preventative measures in place to prevent fatal falls at work.”[WCx]
 
 
Relevant stakeholders who wish to find out more on the ProBE program and the latest WAH initiatives can visit the WSH Council Web site at: www.wshc.sg.
 
 
 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations at Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and a part of the Amaxx team helping companies successfully reduce Workers Compensation Costs by 20% – 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com   Contact:mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 

 


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©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Singapore Association Adopts Enhanced Workplace Safety Standards

The Singapore Manufacturers' Federation (SMA) reports it has adopted enhanced workplace safety standards to minimize accidents and raise productivity. The revised codes of practice will affect about 2,800 of its members.

 
The first revision covers manual operations. It has been expanded to include the latest practices, so workers can avoid injuries from such activities.

 

The second covers equipment safety procedures. It has been updated to require employers to enforce a policy for machines to have locking systems.

 

This means a machine cannot be used until lockout devices have been removed for safety. More training is also on the cards to get workers familiar with safety practices.

 


James See,
assistant secretary-general of the Singapore Manufacturers' Federation, noted, “In training sessions, we can actually have more practical sessions as to how things can be done, and also real-life examples of what mistakes have been made in certain sites like construction sites or in factories. With that, people would learn without having to make the same mistake.”
 

The last time the safety practices were reviewed was over a decade ago.
 

Moving ahead, more codes of practices will be reviewed so employers can all be on the same page when it comes to keeping the employees safe.
 

 
 
The SMA was first established in 1932. Its main aim is to champion the Singapore manufacturing sector. Its mission is to represent the interest of the Singapore manufacturing community and to drive its competitiveness and sustainable growth through serving industry-specific needs.[WCx]
 
 
 
SMA is supported by 11 industry groups to serve diverse industry-specific needs, as well as five Centers of Excellence to offer its members a holistic approach towards improving competitiveness, upgrading skills and capitalizing on new technologies. With a membership of more than 2,800 corporate members ranging from MNCs to SMEs, SMA carries out a myriad of activities to enhance the competitive edge of its members.
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Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 


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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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Asian Workplace Deaths Up Slightly and Noise Induced Deafness Has Increased Reporting

Workplace fatalities increased slightly over the first half of the year as compared to the same period last year, according to the latest Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Report released by the Singapore-based WSH Council.
 
 
From 25 during the first half of 2010, 30 fatalities were recorded from January to June 2011. Fall from height remained the leading type of incident since 2006, which resulted in 13 fatalities, followed by being struck by moving objects, which killed five. Three fatalities were attributed to being struck by a falling object caused by a collapse or failure of structure and equipment. (WCxKit)
 
 
Other causes of death are being caught in/between objects, fires and explosions, crane-related accidents, electrocution, and oxygen deficiency in a confined space.
 
 
Seventy-seven percent of fatalities came from the three traditional sectors – Marine, Construction and Manufacturing. These sectors also accounted for about 78 per cent of permanent disablements and occupational diseases. However, in terms of less serious injuries or temporary disablements (TD), they account for about 41 percent of 4,697 cases.
 
 
Meanwhile, the overall number of workplace injuries fell by 8 percent and permanent disablements fell by 37 percent. Some 43 percent of temporary disablements, which decreased slightly, include incidents like employees tripping in cluttered work areas and sustaining injuries or being struck by heavy objects while retrieving them from shelves.
 
 
Chairman of the WSH Council, Lee Tzu Yang, noted "Although the number of workplace injuries has been declining by 5 percent to 8 percent over the last two years, we can see that we cannot afford to relax. … The Council is committed to getting everyone on board, and we can only succeed if employers want to ensure their employees' safety and take concrete measures to improve.
 
 
"Employees in turn need to follow the safety rules, learn to be aware of risks and look out for each other. Everyone must put safety first, and I include offices, wholesale and retail companies, which form part of the new sectors that account for 40 percent of workplace incidents."
 
 
The number of occupational diseases went up from 124 in 2010 to 361 in 2011, primarily due to the increased reporting of Noise-Induced Deafness (NID) related cases. More NID cases were reported following an island-wide audit exercise by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
 
 
Of the 315 NID cases reported, only one was in the advanced stage. The other 314 cases are in their early stages. Excluding NID cases, the number of occupational diseases in the first half of 2011 was 46 compared to 37 over the same period last year. (WCxKit)
 
 
In response to this, the WSH Council has developed materials to assist employers of workers who may be exposed to noisy work environments.

 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Singapore Construction Workplace Deaths Remain High

Even though the number of workplace deaths last year in Singapore has declined, the number of deaths in the construction sector remained high – with 32 last year, one more than in 2009. 
 
 
According to statistics from a Workplace Safety and Health Council report, the deaths in the construction sector make up 58 percent of the total number of workplace deaths, which has dropped from 70 in 2009 to 55 last year. (WCxKit)
 
 
According to todayonline.com, among all the sectors, construction was the only one where the number of deaths did not fall.
 
 
The number of deathsin the sector, in fact, has "stagnated in the past few years" amid improvements shown in other sectors, the report stated.
 
 
It added: "This calls for serious action to be taken by construction leaders to improve management of safety at worksites."
 
 
The council had, in 2008, gathered leading developers and contractors which pledged to reduce fatalities.
 
 
The 19 companies which came onboard put in place plans that resulted in a decline in fatalities in their firms, from 13 in 2009 to seven in 2010.
 
 
These companies will embark on two new initiatives this year, including spearheading a peer review group to share best practices for work-from-height or crane activities.
 
 
The firms will also incorporate the Design for Safety (DfS) program in their new projects. (WCxKit)
 
 
Later this year, the council will unveil the DfS Mark – a recognition scheme for developers who have adopted DfS and will be awarded on project basis upon assessment.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
 
 
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
 

Physical Abilities of 55-64 Yr. Old Workers a Concern for Singapore Companies

A 2010 Singapore labor force survey reports that the employment rate for older workers aged 55 to 64 years old has gone up to 59 percent.
 
 
According to ChannelNewsAsia.com, this was after the rate held steady at 57.2 percent over the last two years in an economic downturn. (WCxKit)
 
 
According to Minister Lim Boon Heng, the results show that employers recognized the contributions of older employees and are hiring and retaining them.
 
 
He added that companies which hire these mature and old workers have three top concerns, mostly the rising health and insurance costs, the physical abilities of older workers and the ability of these workers to adapt to change.
 
 
"There is a lot of hard work that needs to be done to make it happen and that is why we opted for re-employment legislation than just legislating the retirement age," Lim. Stated.
 
 
Ninety-one percent of unionized companies – or approximately 1,047 firms – have committed to re-employment.
 
 
Two organizations which have been hiring older workers, The National University Hospital and PUB, received the International Innovative Employer Award this year.
 
 
NUH will reportedly be implementing more worker friendly changes in 2011.
 
 
At PUB, 40 percent of the staff is mature workers and they receive pre-retirement counseling one year before reaching their retirement age. (WCxKit)
 
 
 NUH and PUB were named by AARP, a US-based non-profit organization which represents close to 40 million people aged 50 and above, and the Singapore Council for Third Age as being among 15 of the world's best employers in adopting innovative human resource practices to engage older workers.


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact:  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
 
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

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