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The 3 major work-injury risks, based on insurance claims data

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AIG Singapore forecasts workplace safety to be a significant risk for the next 12 months, as companies in Singapore are feeling the pressure to reduce expenditure against the backdrop of a global economic slowdown.

The latest claims data from AIG Singapore (up to April 2017) revealed that the highest risks employees are slips and trips (21%); followed by contact with stationary machinery or objects (12%); then traffic accidents (7%); and falls from height (5%).

These types of accidents result in a myriad of injuries to workers, primarily finger and hand injuries including fractures, as well as back injuries. AIG Singapore’s statistics indicate that back strains and fractures are some of the most costly injuries.

In the press release, Debra Burford, head of liabilities, AIG Singapore said: “Whilst finger and hand injuries may not sound serious, they lead to downtime for both employees and employers which can be prevented with the incorporation of a strong safety and wellness culture within the organisation.”

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AIG Singapore’s claims data also found that industries with greatest exposure to workplace injuries are marine and construction, followed closely by hospitality.

Additionally, more companies are looking for an entire continuum of care for their employees, from pre- to post-incident assistance, rather than only providing support after something unforeseen happens.

With post-incident assistance and rehabilitation increasingly coming into focus, it is forecast that the proportion of companies helping employees manage their injuries will grow five-fold from the current 2% to 10-11% in the next five years, especially as employers realise the benefits of reduced costs, increased productivity and employee morale.

Burford said: “In the face of headwinds and fewer projects, we have seen that companies are facing increasing and unnecessary exposure in workplace safety and health, with less focus on safety measures and some firms even going against the law by not buying work injury insurance.”

“The Workplace Safety and Health Institute’s figures showed that both major and minor injuries rose last year, even with continuing efforts by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to increase enforcement of safety rules and education programmes. This is a great cause for concern, as every fatality and injury is one too many, and companies cannot allow their workplace safety to be an afterthought,” she added.

She also highligted that research has shown that the probability of staff returning to work after an injury decreases with the amount of time spent away from work – with only 50% of workers returning to work after six months away. The release stated that this figure decreases to 25% after one year.

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