Singapore Workplace Fatalities Rise in First Half of 2011

The report highlighted that the number of occupational diseases went up from 124 in 2010 to 361 in 2011, primarily due to the increased reporting of noise-induced deafness cases.

The first half of this year saw an increase in the number of workplace fatalities and occupational diseases compared to the same period last year, according to the latest Singapore Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) report released by the WSH Council. However, the overall number of workplace injuries fell by 8 percent and permanent disabilities fell by 37 percent.

The report highlighted that the number of occupational diseases went up from 124 in 2010 to 361 in 2011, primarily due to the increased reporting of noise-induced deafness (NID) cases. More NID cases were reported following an island-wide audit exercise by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Of the 315 NID cases reported, one was in the advanced stage. The other 314 cases were in early stages. Excluding NID cases, the number of occupational diseases in the first half of 2011 was 46 compared to 37 over the same period last year.

Between January and June 2011, the number of workplace fatalities increased to 30 from 25 in 2010. Seventy-seven percent of fatalities came from Singapore’s three traditional sectors—marine, construction, and manufacturing. These sectors also accounted for about 78 percent of permanent disablements (TD) and occupational diseases.

Another 43 percent of TD cases were from the new sectors that are covered under the WSH Act from Sept. 1, 2011. Incidents include employees tripping in cluttered work areas and sustaining injuries or being struck by heavy objects while retrieving them from shelves.

“Although the number of workplace injuries has been declining by 5 percent to 8 percent over the last two years, we can see that we cannot afford to relax,” said WSH Council Chairman Lee Tzu Yang. “Despite the drop in overall injuries, workplace fatalities have increased this half year. Any workplace incident has the potential of resulting in an injury or a fatality, so our goal must be to prevent all workplace incidents.”

  • Falls rose from 9 cases in 2010 to 13 cases in the first half of 2011.
  • Struck-by moving objects incidents, mainly caused by workplace vehicles, accounted for 5 deaths, up from 4 last year.
  • Struck-by falling objects accidents accounted for 3 fatalities, caused by a collapse or failure of structure and equipment.

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