Fewer workplace injuries in first six months of 2013

SINGAPORE - In the first half of 2013, there were 25 workplace deaths, down from 26 a year before. Minor workplace injuries fell from 5,160 cases to 5,029. Occupational disease cases nearly halved to 372 cases, down from 634 cases in the first half of 2012, according to a new report by Workplace Safety and Health Institute.

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Here is the press release from WSH:

The first half of 2013 saw 25 workplace fatal injuries, a minor decrease from the 26 fatalities during the same period last year, according to the latest Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Statistics Report released by the WSH Institute.

Minor workplace injuries also saw a dip, from 5,160 cases to 5,029, as compared to the same period last year.

There was a slight uptick for the number of major work place injuries to 257 from 255 the previous year.

The total number of reported workplace injuries decreased by 2.4 per cent, and the number of occupational disease cases fell by nearly half to 372 cases from 634 cases, compared to the same period last year.

Workplace fatal injuries by sectors and incident types

The Construction sector remained the top contributor of workplace fatal injuries, with an increase in the number of workplace fatal injuries as compared the same period last year.

On the other hand, the Marine and Manufacturing sectors saw lower numbers of workplace fatal injuries, from 3 cases to 1 and from 5 cases to 1 respectively. Together, the three traditional high risk sectors accounted for 52 per cent of all workplace fatal injuries reported.

Workplace fatal injuries by sectors and incident types

The Construction sector remained the top contributor of workplace fatal injuries, with an increase in the number of workplace fatal injuries as compared the same period last year. On the other hand, t he Marine and Manufacturing sectors saw lower numbers of workplace fatal injuries, from 3 cases to 1 and from 5 cases to 1 respectively. Together, the three traditional high risk sectors accounted for 52 per cent of all workplace fatal injuries reported.

The most common incident types that led to workplace fatal injuries were

Falls, Struck by Moving Objects, Collapse/ Failure of Structure and Equipment, and Electrocution. These accounted for 80 per cent of the total workplace fatal injuries.

Injuries from Falls were among the leading types of incidents, with 7 workplace fatal injuries in the first half of 2013, despite the decrease from 8 in the preceding year. The number of workplace fatal injuries from being Struck by Moving Objects increased from 2 cases to 7, compared to the same period las t year.

Workplace major and minor injuries by sectors

Workplace major injuries increased slightly from 255 cases in the first half of 2012 to 257 cases in the same period this year, even though the number of cases per 100,000 employed persons went down from 9.7 to 9.4. The traditional high risk sectors account for 139 cases (54 per cent) of the total workplace major injuries reported, lower than the 145 cases reported in the same period last year. The Construction sector remained the largest contributor, accounting for 63 (25 per cent) workplace major injuries, a drop from the 77 cases seen in the same period last year.

The number of workplace minor injuries in the first half of 2013 declined. The traditional high risk sectors account for 2,419 (48 per cent) of workplace minor injuries. The Manufacturing sector remained the highest contributor despite a decrease of 71 cases (5.4 per cent) in workplace minor injuries compared to the same period last year, while the Construction and Marine sectors recorded an increase of 40 (4.2 per cent) and 18 (10 per cent) cases of workplace minor injuries respectively.

Inclusion of work-related traffic injuries in WSH Statistics report from 2014

Work-related traffic injuries were not included in previous Annual WSH Statistics Reports as such injuries were not reportable under the WSH (Incident Reporting) Regulations.

The Ministry of Manpower will be amending the regulations to require companies to report all work-related traffic accidents in the first quarter of 2014.

Following this amendment, the Annual WSH Statistics Report will then include the number of work-related traffic injuries. Inclusion of work-related traffic in juries in the report will allow employers to gain a better understanding of where fatal traffic injuries are occurring and therefore take measures to prevent similar accidents.

Using figures from the Traffic Police as reference, the number of work-related fatal traffic injuries was 9 in the first half of this year, which would be approximately one-quarter of the total workplace fatal injuries.

Together with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the WSH Council is working closely with the Traffic Police, Singapore Road Safety Council and employers to support work-related traffic safety efforts through various initiatives. One of the initiatives is the development of a set of practical guidelines on wor kplace traffic safety.

The WSH Council is seeking feedback from the industry about the guidelines, which can be viewed at www.wshc.sg from now till October 2.

Commenting on the WSH statistics, Dr Jukka Takala, Executive Director of the WSH Institute, said "Although we see a decrease in the number of workplace fatal and minor injuries in the first half of the year, it is timely that we track and take a closer look at work-related traffic injuries as it forms a significant proportion of the total workplace injuries."

Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman of the WSH Council, encouraged all industry players to work to increase WSH capabilities and awareness among their employees.

"Although the number of workplace injuries and reported cases of occupational disease has declined, we should never let our guard down. There is still a long way for us to go to achieve world class standards in terms of WSH outcomes, and we are determined to get there," he said.

Commenting on the report and recent accidents, the Ministry of Manpower's Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health Er. Ho Siong Hin said, "While we are encouraged by the WSH performance in the first half of the year, we are concerned about the recent spate of workplace fatal accidents. There had been 12 work-related fatalities in the past two months of which were from the construction sector. We have stepped up inspection in the areas of works at heights, formwork and scaffolds in the coming months and will be announcing the results of the inspection in the coming weeks."

Industry stakeholders who wish to read the latest Report can visit the WSH Council website ( www.wshc.sg ) and the WSH Institute website ( www.wshi.gov.sg )