The Singapore Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) council issued alerts on 24 May about 2 fatal accidents that took place in April where one worker died after falling down an elevator shaft, while another was crushed to death by a forklift part.
Worker fell into lift shaft
On 18 April 2023, a worker was carrying out welding work at a newly constructed lift shaft when he fell into the shaft and landed on the ground about six metres below. The worker was sent to the hospital where he died of his injuries.
Preliminary investigations revealed that guard rails were present around the open side of the lift shaft. The worker was not equipped with any fall-arrest equipment or travel restraints when the accident occurred.
Figure 1: Scene of the accident.
Figure 2: Distance from the guard rail to the open side of the lift shaft.
Workers are at risk of falling from height when working next to or inside a lift shaft. The WSH Council calls on all companies taking on similar work activities to put in place the necessary measures to prevent falls.
Technician pinned by forklift mast
On 28 April 2023, a technician was preparing to carry out repair works on a forklift when the forklift’s mast fell on him. The technician was pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the locking pins of the mast were removed without first securing the mast.
Scene of the accident.
Workers involved in vehicular repair may be exposed to physical hazards when working with vehicle parts or engine components. The WSH Council calls on all companies carrying out vehicular repair to ensure worker safety and undertake an assessment of their safety measures.
Under the WSH Act, first-time corporate offenders may be sentenced to the maximum fine of $500,000 whilst individuals can either be sentenced to the maximum fine of $200,000 and/or an imprisonment not exceeding 2 years. Read more on the WSH Act penalties.
During the extended Heightened Safety Period (1 September 2022 to 31 May 2023), the Ministry of Manpower will impose severe actions for serious WSH lapses, which include:
• Debarment from hiring new work pass holders.
• Company leaders to personally account to MOM and take responsibility for rectifications, and attend a mandatory half-day in-person WSH training course.
• Engaging external auditors to conduct a thorough review of company’s WSH processes.