66 fatal accidents at workplaces in 2016, injuries on rise

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SINGAPORE: There were 66 fatal accidents at workplaces in Singapore in 2016, representing a fatal injury rate of 1.9 per 100,000 employed persons, similar to 2015, said the Ministry of Manpower and Workplace Safety and Health Institute.

In the joint press release on last year’s figures, they said the number of fatalities reduced from 42 in the first half of last year to 24 in the latter half – a 43 per cent reduction.

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However, the number of workplace injury cases increased by 5.4 per cent from 12,351 in 2015 to 13,014 last year, with minor injuries growing from 11,688 to 12,354 over the same period, it added.

The construction, marine, manufacturing, and transportation and storage sectors accounted for 76 per cent (50 cases) of all workplace fatalities in 2016, the statistics showed.

While the construction sector remained the top contributor to workplace fatalities, the actual number fell from 27 in 2015 to 24 last year. This means the fatal injury rate fell to 4.9 per 100,000 employed persons – the lowest since 2007, the press release said.

The marine and manufacturing sectors saw an increase, from four to six such incidents for the former and from six to nine for the latter.

Falls were the main reason for the fatalities, accounting for 29 per cent, followed by being struck by moving objects at 20 per cent and caught in or between objects at 12 per cent, according to the findings.

For major injuries, there was a slight dip of three cases from 597 last year to 594. Injuries resulting in crushing, fractures and dislocations, which accounted for 55% of all major workplace injuries, went up slightly to 329 from 323 over the same period, MOM noted.

Dr Gan Siok Lin, executive director of Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute said: “Besides looking at fatal injuries, there is a need to pay closer attention to major injuries which cause much suffering to the injured worker and his family. Injured workers who are on longer medical leave and have some loss in function are more likely not to return to the workforce.”

“I therefore strongly urge the industry to review their risk assessments, to ensure that all workplace hazards are identified and control measures are communicated to workers so that they are not harmed by their work and can return home safe to their families,” Dr Gan added.

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