Workplace fatalities at lowest in 15 years

However, work-related diseases are increasing – WSH urges employers to manage workplace health the same way as safety

Workplace fatalities at lowest in 15 years

The workplace fatality rate in Singapore last year was the lowest since 2004, according to a joint press release by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council, WSH Institute and Ministry of Manpower.

There were 42 workplace fatalities last year, down from 66 in 2016, resulting in a fatal injury rate of 1.2 per 100,000 employed persons. This was a "significant improvement after fatal injury rates stagnated at 1.9 per 100,000 employed persons in 2015 and 2016", the agencies said.

According to the press release, there were also fewer workplace injuries and dangerous occurrences last year, compared to the year before.

Fatal injuries dropped across the different sectors including construction, transportation and storage, manufacturing, marine, as well as cleaning and landscape maintenance.

While vehicular-related incidents, falls and machinery-related incidents remained the top causes of fatal injuries in 2017, the number of these cases also declined to 29 as compared to 45 to 2016, reported Channel NewsAsia.

However, the number of occupational diseases jumped from 732 cases in 2016 to 799 in 2017. This increase was "driven by the higher number of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, noise-induced deafness and occupational skin diseases incidents".

“There is a need to manage workplace health the same way we manage workplace safety. Health affects safety and vice versa, so companies should take an integrated approach to enhance both their safety and health management capabilities," said WSH Institute executive director Dr Gan Siok Lin.

About 16,000 inspections were conducted in 2017. During the year, 71 stop-work orders, more than 1,200 fines and more than 9,000 notices of non-compliance were issued. This pace of enforcement operations and engagement will sustain in 2018.

Related stories:
Company fined $200k for workplace tragedy
MOM issues stop work order for ammonia leak

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