The number of fatal accidents in Singapore’s construction sector have massively increased this year so far, with a total of 17 workers losing their lives on the job to date this year.
During his speech at Construction Safety, Health and Security Campaign, Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education, said this number is an increase from 11 over the same period last year, and numerous more injuries have also been reported.
“We had 71 incidents in the first five months of this year, a 15% increase from the same period last year. If this trend continues, I am afraid we may end the year with a higher fatality and major injury rate than in 2013,” he said.
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He also called for people to understand the devastating effect poor workplace health and safety practices have for the loved ones of those who are injured or killed.
“These statistics are more than just numbers; behind each this fatality number is someone’s spouse, parent, child, friend or colleague. We simply cannot allow the situation to deteriorate further.”
The extent of the lack of safety standards was brought to light during “Operation Peacock”, a series of compliance checks and inspections by the Ministry of Manpower in April.
It found 280 workplace safety and health (WSH) violations related to working at heights, scaffolding and electrical lapses on 144 worksites of 127 companies.
More than 400 fines and notices of non-compliance were issued, resulting in total fines of $110,000. Four stop-work orders were also issued.
“Our message to developers and contractors is clear. We will not hesitate to take tougher action to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of our construction workers if the situation does not improve,” Daipi said.
“Irresponsible stakeholders who cut corners and put workers and others unnecessarily at risk, will face tougher enforcement action.”