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Singapore government takes action to reduce 'worrying' workplace transport accidents

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is stepping up enforcement measures to improve transport safety in workplaces.

The Ministry of Manpower | This photo is copyright 2011 Michael Coghlan and made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

The ministry said incidents involving vehicles were the most common cause of worker deaths. From January to May this year, 287 workers were injured in such accidents, six of them fatally.
More than 250 workplace inspections will now take place over the next eight weeks in an enforcement crackdown named “Operations Roadrunner”.
The MOM said that during the first five months of the year it inspected traffic management systems at more than 400 construction sites, storage yards, warehouses and factories. One in five visits uncovered poor practices.
It found the main breaches were failure to segregate workplace transport and pedestrians, and a lack of control of vehicles which, it said, can lead to improper use of plant such as forklift trucks.
As a result the ministry took more than 600 enforcement actions, including fines and prosecutions. 
The minister of state for manpower, Sam Tan, said: “MOM’s enforcement efforts are not simply to catch errant workers and employers from doing the wrong things, but more to teach them how to do the right things on safety and health hazards. So this is an inspection and education operation to create greater awareness among workers and employers.
“The recent spate of vehicle-related incidents is worrying and clearly shows that more is needed to promote good practices. I urge employers to ensure that vehicular risks are assessed, mitigated and communicated to workers.”
Under Singapore's Workplace Safety and Health Act, companies that fail to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of their workers can be fined up to S$500,000 (£280,000) for the first offence.



Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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