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Nearly 140 workplace safety breaches uncovered at waste recycling companies: MOM

Nearly 140 workplace safety breaches uncovered at waste recycling companies: MOM

Obstructed walkways create tripping and fall hazards. This example of poor housekeeping also prevents workers from evacuating quickly and safely in the event of a fire. (Photo: Ministry of Manpower)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Friday (Nov 13) that it had uncovered close to 140 workplace safety and health (WSH) contraventions at waste recycling companies during an enforcement operation.

Dubbed Ops Bowerbird, the targeted operation was launched last month with the support of the Singapore Civil Defence Force. More than 30 companies were inspected during the operation.

Unsafe wiring can cause electrocution and trigger fires or explosions. (Photo: Ministry of Manpower)

"Our inspectors uncovered close to 140 contraventions which posed fire and explosion risks such as poor handling of containers containing residual flammable/toxic gases and obstruction to fire safety measures," the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

"In addition, our inspectors also uncovered contraventions such as unsafe stacking, unsafe electrical wirings, poor forklift conditions, unsafe machine guarding and poor housekeeping."

Bald forklift tyres can cause accidents. (Photo: Ministry of Manpower)

MOM said that some companies were found to be implementing good WSH practices: Some refused to accept materials they were not able to handle safely, such as canister cans, LPG cylinders and compressors, for example.

A drilled hole found in an LPG cylinder to depressurise residual gas. The drilling of LPG cylinders can cause sparks that can trigger fires or explosions. (Photo: Ministry of Manpower)

"All employers should conduct risk assessments, identify the materials that your companies are equipped to handle, and adhere to safe work procedures," MOM said. "We will continue inspecting such workplaces to heighten focus on WSH, even amid COVID-19."

MOM and the WSH Council will be working with industry leaders to issue an advisory on safe recycling work next month.

The unsafe storage and stacking of objects poses a risk of collapse onto workers. (Photo: Ministry of Manpower)

MOM added: "With year-end festivities approaching, businesses may be ramping up their work activities to meet deadlines due to earlier work suspension.

"Last year, in Nov and Dec alone, there was a spate of accidents that unfortunately resulted in the death of 13 workers.

"MOM would like to remind all companies to maintain vigilance and ensure necessary safeguards are in place to protect workers."

Editor's note: A previous version of this article, citing MOM, said that 11 workers died in workplace accidents in November and December last year. MOM has corrected this to 13 workers.

Source: CNA/kg

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