SINGAPORE: There were more than 400 cases of safety violations at work sites in June alone after enforcement efforts were stepped up by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan said on Monday (Jul 17).
The ministry and the Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSH) had highlighted falls, amputations and vehicle accidents as key areas of prevention in 2017, and June was the first month inspections were done under this initiative.
In response to the violations found, MOM meted out 322 notices of non-compliance, 70 composition fines and four stop-work orders, Mr Tan said in a speech at a Workplace Safety and Health forum. He added that three of the stop-work orders were related to work-at-height safety issues.
According to MOM, there have been 21 workplace fatalities since January, with four taking place at construction sites.
At the forum, Mr Tan highlighted an incident last Friday where an uncompleted viaduct collapsed at a construction site along Upper Changi Road East, killing one worker and injuring 10.
"This accident has shocked many people, and I am also deeply saddened by it," he said in Mandarin.
"MOM and the relevant authorities have launched an investigation and issued a stop-work order. The accident will require more investigation, but in any case the worker cannot be brought back to life. We must always put workplace safety first," he said.
Mr Tan said that while the number of fatalities due to workers falling from heights dropped from 24 in 2009 to 13 in 2016, it remained the most common cause of workplace deaths in Singapore and more needed to be done to reduce such accidents.
One initiative is the Mobile Work at Heights Programme, where WSH professionals conduct site visits to share safety practices.
Eighty such visits were made last year and the plan is to increase the number of visits to 300 this year, Mr Tan said.