Launching the government’s “target zero falls” campaign at the Work at Height Forum at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, minister of state for national development and manpower Zagy Mohamad said that there had been 358 cases, down from 388, during the first seven months of the year.
Mohamad said the number of deaths due to falls from height was on a downward trajectory, from 24 in 2009 to eight in 2017.
However, he warned that there had been five fatal falls from height this year, four of which took place when employees were working near unguarded edges and fragile surfaces.
“Even though the progress is encouraging, more work needs to be done,” he told the forum, adding that Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower’s focus this year would be on putting in place safety controls to eliminate or mitigate risks involving open sides, fragile surfaces and roofing works.
Consultants from the Workplace Safety and Health (WSC) Council have so far visited 83 sites in the construction, manufacturing and healthcare sectors to provide practical guidance to supervisors and workers on how to work safely at height, he added.
Over the next three months, the WSC Council will encourage businesses to conduct senior management walkabouts and “safety time-outs”, which will involve pausing routine operations to review workplace activities and systems that relate to work at height.
Mohamad told the forum that some businesses were starting to use technology to reduce risks, including using cameras to detect work which is carried out without proper safeguards. He added that some businesses were also using virtual reality for work at height training.