Two workers die in April in separate workplace incidents 10 days apart
Two workers died in April in separate workplace incidents 10 days apart, with one man falling while working on a new lift shaft. The other worker died after a forklift machine fell on him.
There have been at least 11 workplace deaths so far this year. The fatalities were reported by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council in an alert on Wednesday.
On April 18, a worker died after he fell from a height of about 6m while carrying out welding work at a newly constructed lift shaft. The worker was taken to hospital and later died of his injuries.
Preliminary investigations found that guard rails were present around the open side of the lift shaft.
When the accident occurred, the worker was not equipped with any fall-arrest equipment or travel restraints.
“Workers are at risk of falling from (a) height when working next to or inside a lift shaft,” said the WSH alert.
The WSH Council urged companies carrying out vehicular repair to ensure worker safety and undertake an assessment of their safety measures.
Companies should urgently assess and ensure that their WSH management system has some measures or checks, said the WSH alert. For example, they should deploy only competent welders who have completed work-at-height training for work inside or next to a lift shaft. Companies should also instruct workers never to climb over or through guard rails.
In a separate incident, a technician died on April 28 after a forklift’s mast fell on him. The technician was preparing to carry out repair works on the forklift.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The locking pins of the mast were removed without first securing the mast, according to preliminary investigations.
“Workers involved in vehicular repair may be exposed to physical hazards when working with vehicle parts or engine components,” said the WSH alert.
The WSH Council added that companies should assess and ensure that their WSH management system includes some measures or checks as well. For instance, companies should provide on-site supervision to ensure that workers are aware of the hazards involved.
The Straits Times has contacted the Ministry of Manpower for more information on the two incidents.
Under the WSH Act, first-time corporate offenders can be fined up to $500,000, while individuals can be fined up to $200,000 and/or jailed for up to two years.
There is currently a heightened safety period imposed on companies here. The safety period, which began on Sept 1, 2022, has been extended till May 31. It was supposed to end on Feb 28.
During this period, the Ministry of Manpower will impose severe actions for serious WSH lapses, such as debarring companies from hiring new work pass holders.