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Singapore

WSH Council urges assessment of petrol station traffic safety measures following fatal accident

The Workplace Safety and Health Council issued the alert after a pump attendant died from getting knocked down by a car exiting a pump island in January.

WSH Council urges assessment of petrol station traffic safety measures following fatal accident

The scene of an accident on Jan 19, 2023, where a pump attendant was hit by a car exiting a petrol station. (Photo: Workplace Safety and Health Council)

SINGAPORE: The Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council on Friday (Feb 3) called on all companies involved in operating petrol stations to do an urgent assessment of their traffic safety measures to prevent vehicle accidents.

This follows a fatal accident in January - the second workplace fatality that month - where a pump attendant was knocked down by a car exiting a pump island at a petrol station along 61 Sengkang East Road.

A 42-year-old male driver is assisting with police investigations, which are ongoing.

In response to CNA's queries, a spokesperson for Shell said on Saturday: "We care about the safety of the service station staff and customers. During this difficult period, our priority is to support the family. Our operator, the pump attendant’s employer, is doing the same."

Following the incident, the company is working with station operators in its network to review safety at its sites.

"Shell and our operator will continue to cooperate with the authorities on this investigation," said the Shell spokesperson.

Companies should urgently assess and ensure that their WSH management system includes the following measures or checks, said the WSH Council.

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT PLAN (TMP)

A TMP should be implemented to minimise the risk of vehicle collisions and improve the safety of all persons at a petrol station, said the WSH Council.

Suggested risk controls include the following:

  • Implement a speed limit within the station and communicate this clearly via traffic signage 
  • Install road humps or rumble strips at strategic locations to slow down vehicle movement
  • Post signage and/or road markings to remind drivers to keep a lookout for pedestrians
  • Place convex mirrors to eliminate blind spots within the petrol station
  • Provide pedestrian crossing(s) that are clearly visible to drivers to facilitate safe people’s movement to and from pump islands

HAZARD COMMUNICATION

Workers should be briefed on possible workplace hazards and the dangers of distracted walking, such as walking while looking at one’s mobile phone, at a petrol station.

Movement to and from pump islands should only be at designated pedestrian crossings, said the WSH Council, adding that each worker should be equipped with a high-visibility reflective vest. 

PENALTIES

Under the Workplace Safety and Health Act, first-time corporate offenders may be sentenced to the maximum fine of S$500,000, while individuals can either be sentenced to the maximum fine of S$200,000 and/or a jail term of up to two years. 

In September last year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) introduced a six-month heightened safety period with tightened measures to increase penalties and improve accountability from company management.

During this period, which will end on Feb 28, MOM will impose severe actions for serious WSH lapses, which include debarment from hiring new work pass holders, company leaders having to personally account to MOM and take responsibility for rectifications, as well as the engaging of external auditors to conduct a thorough review of company’s WSH processes.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Member of Parliament Melvin Yong (PAP-Radin Mas) noted that just one month into 2023, three lives have been lost due to workplace incidents, of which two are vehicle related.

"This is very concerning as safety is something that we should never be complacent about, and company management must do all that they can to ensure that workplace safety and health (WSH) is a top priority for everyone at the workplace," said Mr Yong, who is also assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

"NTUC remains deeply concerned about the number of preventable injuries and deaths."

Mr Yong added that he has filed a parliamentary question for the upcoming sitting on Feb 6, asking if MOM would extend the Heightened Safety Period beyond Feb 28.

He will also ask what more can be done to prevent workplace accidents.

Source: CNA/ic(rj)

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