Over 1,000 safety breaches at work sites since Oct: MOM

Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan took part in a surprise inspection at a construction site on Thursday, Dec 3.

Mr Tan joined MOM's inspection team on their Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) inspection, which is conducted to identify safety lapses and address potential causes of accidents at worksites.

To date, MOM has inspected close to 500 workplaces, majority of which are worksites. These inspections have uncovered more than 1,000 safety breaches, and 13 Stop-Work Orders (SWOs) have been issued.

On their official Facebook page, MOM said targeted operations are conducted to identify safety lapses and address potential causes of accidents. The Ministry will then work with companies to rectify any safety concerns in order to prevent future accidents from happening.

One of their enforcement operations, Operation Cormorant, was launched in mid-October this year and spans eight weeks. It focuses on issues such as work at heights, crane safety and traffic management.

Some instances of safety contraventions from Thursday's visit include an excavation that was found to be more than four meters deep with a slope close to 90 degrees. It was not done according to a professional engineer's design. Workers were also seen working within the site even though it was not safe.

Safe access into and from the excavation site was also not provided.

Other faults of the site include large, uncovered gaps in above-ground work areas which posed a risk of falling from a height, open sides that lacked adequate barricades and unsecured metal deckings for the work platform.

Speaking to the project manager during his worksite inspection visit, MOS Tan shared his concern over the safety lapses observed and reminded him that he has a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for his workers.

Mr Tan said: "We want to educate companies on good safety measures. Therefore, it is crucial that findings from our inspections and enforcement actions are shared with companies across the industry so everyone can learn together.

"These incidents are not just statistics. Every workplace fatality means a family's permanent loss of their loved one. One life lost, is one too many."

Thursday's visit marks Mr Tan's first time inspecting a construction worksite since joining MOM in Oct this year.

Findings of Operation Cormorant will be released in January 2016.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg