Worksites to be closely inspected after two cases of formwork structures collapsing

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it will step up inspections of worksites islandwide over a two-week period from Jan 20, following a recent spate of serious accidents involving formwork structures which collapsed.

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Here is the statement from the MOM:

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is concerned about the recent spate of serious accidents caused by malpractices in erecting formwork structures. We will step up worksite inspections to check on unsafe practices involving formwork structures from 20 January 2014.

MOM has issued an advisory to Professional Engineers (PEs) on 18 January 2014 to remind them of their obligations in the design, construction and inspection of formwork structures.

Over the past week, two accidents involving formwork structures took place at separate construction worksites (please refer to Annex B for details of the two accidents).

While the investigation into these accidents are in progress, preliminary findings showed that the formwork structures gave way during the concrete casting process, indicating that the structures were unable to support the load imposed on them during the casting process.

It was fortunate that there were no serious injuries arising from these accidents.

Such dangerous occurrences can have catastrophic consequences and result in significant loss of lives. It is imperative to weed out unsafe practices involving formwork structures.

The stepped-up inspections will target formwork practices at construction worksites, such as unsafe design of formwork structures, improper erection of formwork structures, incompatible formwork components, and improper supervision and inspection of formwork structures.

The enforcement effort will be carried out island-wide over two weeks. These are in addition to MOM's regular checks on formwork structures as part of its construction safety inspections.

Inspections of construction worksites to be stepped up

Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Education) Mr Hawazi Daipi, said, "The construction sector is a high-risk industry. Safety must be the top priority. We were fortunate that there were no serious injuries in the two accidents that occurred over the past week. But, contractors and PEs must give attention to safety practices involving formwork structures. MOM officers will be stepping up their inspections of worksites. We will take errant occupiers of worksites and employers to task. I urge all employers to fulfil your obligations to keep your workers safe."

The Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council has also reminded the industry to play their part and enforce good formwork practices.

Mr Jackson Yap, Chairman, WSH Council (Construction and Landscape) Committee, said, "Formwork is a high-risk activity requiring proper design and erection of structures, as well as stringent checks and tight supervision of the work procedures. While MOM can and does carry out inspections and enforcements, contractors and industry professionals independently must take proactive steps of their own and adopt good practices involving formwork structures. All of us, especially employers and industry professionals, have an obligation to ensure the safety and health of workers."