How safe are Singapore’s workplaces?

New figures by the Workplace Safety & Health Institute have unveiled trends in fatalities, major injuries and occupational diseases for businesses in Singapore

The number of workplace injuries and fatalities has decreased in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2014 according to the latest statistics released by the Workplace Safety & Health Institute (WSHI).
From January to June 2015, injury figures were as follows (with the estimated annual rate in parentheses): 
  • 29 workers were fatally injured (1.7 per 100,000 employed persons)
  • 292 workers sustained major injuries (17.3 per 100,000 employed persons)
  • 5,658 sustained minor injuries (335 per 100,000 employed persons)
Almost 300,000 man-hours were lost due to injury in the first half of 2015. The accident severity rate was 74 man-hours lost per million man-hours worked.
A total of 438 cases of occupational disease were also reported. The leading disease was noise-induced deafness with 267 incidents. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders came in second place with 134 cases which included back injuries due to bad ergonomics.
There were decreases almost entirely across the board from the first half of 2014 when there were 34 fatal injuries, 308 major injuries and 6,255 minor injuries. The only increase was in occupational diseases where 428 cases occurred from January to June.
WSHI listed the top five causes for workplace fatalities in the first half of 2015 as follows:
  • Work-related traffic (28%)
  • Falls (24%)
  • Struck by moving objects (17%)
  • Caught in-between objects (14%)
  • Collapse/failure of structure or equipment (10%)
Compared to the first half of 2014, there was a major spike in work-related traffic fatalities in 2015. Deaths caused by falls decreased on the other hand, while those caused by being struck by objects increased.
The percentage of fatal workplace injuries was broken down by sector and is listed below:
  • Construction (34%)
  • Transportation & storage (31%)
  • Manufacturing (7%)
  • Marine (7%)
While construction was the most dangerous industry with regards to workplace deaths, the numbers actually decreased when compared to January to June in 2014. Transportation and storage showed the opposite with fatalities increasing between this year and the last.
For major workplace injuries, WSHI gave percentages in each sector as follows:
  • Construction (30%)
  • Manufacturing (19%)
  • Community, social & personal services (8%)
  • Accommodation & food services (7%)
  • Transportation & storage (7%)
Again, although construction was in first place, the number of major workplace injuries actually decreased within the sector between the first half of 2014 and the first half of 2015. Manufacturing also experienced fewer injuries, while community, social & personal services saw a greater number of major incidents.
Related stories:
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Death toll drops on construction sites
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