The two measures support the third and final phase of the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council’s national workplace safety and health campaign, which will focus on the prevention of machinery-related hand and finger injuries that could result in amputations. The two earlier phases covered falls and vehicle accidents.
The 2019 “safe hands” campaign will focus on the metalworking sector, which comprises 5,000 companies and has one of the highest totals of injuries requiring amputation in Singapore’s manufacturing industry.
Speaking at the campaign’s launch on 10 January, minister of state for manpower and national development at the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) Zaqy Mohamad said that, although the number of amputation cases in workplaces had decreased from 140 in 2016 to 103 in 2018, all the injuries were preventable.
The MoM said that its inspections over the past year had revealed that measures such as sound risk assessments, machine guards and lock-out and tag-out procedures during maintenance and repair were being overlooked.
“Gaps in existing safety procedures can be spotted through near-miss reports and measures can be implemented to prevent future accidents,” Mohamad said at the campaign launch.
“For such a programme to be successful, a blame-free environment is critical so that the emphasis is on learning rather than assigning blame. Workers should be encouraged to proactively flag out hazards without fear of reprisal.”
The MoM has collaborated with WSH to develop the “prevention of amputations at work” programme to help companies manage machinery safety risks. Consultants are deployed to assess work premises and advise companies on how they can reduce machine hazards and adopt industry best practices at no charge.
In the last two phases of the WSH campaign more than 400 companies pledged their commitment to create safe and healthy working environments. As part of the pledge on preventing falls and vehicle accidents, companies organised toolbox briefings and senior managers undertook walkabouts to show their support to safety.