SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) took action against 276 companies in the manufacturing, construction and marine sectors for safety lapses involving machinery recently, following a two-month enforcement blitz.
The ministry issued six stop-work orders and 78 composition fines amounting to S$91,000 after inspecting 350 companies in April and May.
MOM said in a news release on Thursday (Jun 21) that the lapses were mainly a "lack of machine guarding", failure to implement proper procedures during maintenance and repair, and inadequate risk assessment relating to machinery safety.
Machinery-related incidents were the second leading cause of major injuries at the workplace in 2017, with 74 such cases recorded. About 90 per cent of the cases resulted in amputation.
In the first five months of 2018, MOM recorded 30 machinery-related major injuries resulting from “inadequate safety provisions”.
Director of occupational safety and health inspectorate, Mr Sebastian Tan, said that the construction, metalworking and marine sectors were the three that accounted for most of the machinery-related cases between 2014 and 2017.
“The majority of these accidents occurred during the use of electrical hand tools, saws and handling of metal items,” he said.
“Employers and supervisors must identify and eliminate machinery risks in their workplaces and proactively communicate the safe use of machinery to workers.”
Under the Work Safety and Health Act, companies that fail to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of their workers can be fined up to S$500,000 for the first offence.
“MOM will continue to target inspections in the manufacturing, construction and marine sectors, to ensure that employers improve machinery safety and eliminate amputation risks at workplaces,” added Mr Tan.