Contractor barred from hiring new foreign employees after worker falls through roof
On the day that new measures were announced to strengthen workplace safety, a company was barred from hiring new foreign employees for three months after a worker fell more than 8m through a roof and was seriously injured.
The worker, who is still warded in hospital, had stepped on a skylight panel that broke. An inspection of the worksite by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) found that the incident had occurred due to unsafe work practices by the contractor.
In a statement on Thursday, the ministry said Le Fong Building Services, the company responsible for the lapse, has been debarred from employing new foreign employees for three months.
It is the first company to be taken to task under MOM's new Heightened Safety measures, which were implemented on Sept 1.
Le Fong Building Services specialises in waterproofing, water leakage detection and repair services.
The new measures require chief executives to personally account for lapses to MOM and take responsibility for rectifications.
In this case, Mr William Lim, managing director of Le Fong, was hauled up by MOM after its inspection found that the company's unsafe work practices had directly contributed to the accident and posed an imminent danger to other workers.
The company was ordered to stop all work-at-height activities across all of its worksites.
Mr Lim admitted the company had failed to implement a proper system to address safety hazards from working at height.
MOM said he will also need to ensure that rectification actions are carried out, and a robust workplace safety and health system is put in place before the stop-work order is lifted.
"Company leaders are in the best position to set a positive culture and shape safety practices on the ground," said MOM in a statement.
"All company leaders must pay utmost attention to workplace safety and health."
The Heightened Safety measures were implemented following a spate of workplace fatalities this year.
A total of 37 people have died in workplace accidents this year - the same number recorded for the whole of last year.
The new measures are expected to last for six months.
Workers and members of the public are encouraged to report unsafe practices on MOM's website. Identities of whistle-blowers will remain anonymous.