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Slips, trips and falls account for almost 30 per cent of Singapore workplace injuries

Nearly 30 per cent of workplace injuries in Singapore are now the result of slips, trips and falls, according to the Straits Times. The first six months of 2019 saw more than 1,800 injuries, a 6 per cent increase on last year, with totals of more than 3,000 per year over the past four years.

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Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Minister, quoted the figures at a workplace safety forum on kitchens on 26 August. His department had launched an operation in response to carry out 500 inspections across the most affected sectors, he said, including the construction, hospitality and manufacturing sectors. This had led to almost 900 enforcement actions against more than 430 companies, including four that were issued with stop-work orders, while fines handed out had totalled more than S$164,000 (£96,933).

Nearly half of the slips, trips and falls in the hospitality and entertainment sectors had taken place in the kitchen, he said, with four-out-of-five cases occurring at peak periods when time pressures meant that safety was often overlooked. In one incident this year a kitchen worker had slipped and accidentally grabbed a pot of scalding oil as she fell, sustaining 80 per cent burns on her body. She later died of her injuries.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has set up a Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSH) in association with the Singapore National Employers Federation and trade unions. The council aims to hold a safety week in partnership with the Singapore Hotel Association to promote best practice such as making sure floors are clean and dry, products are properly stored and pathways are kept clear of unnecessary items.

WSH’s Hospitality and Entertainment Industries Committee is also partnering with social media companies to produce awareness-raising video content on the potential hazards and injuries faced by kitchen staff.

Employees also needed to “take ownership” of their safety and that of their co-workers', Mr Zaqy added. "Kitchen safety is often overlooked,” he said. “Accidents can happen in a split second when one is not careful or when one takes a short cut. Let's all work together to provide safe and healthy workplaces for our workers."

 

David Gilliver
David Gilliver is a freelance journalist, copywriter and subeditor

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