In April and May 2018, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) conducted 380 inspections at 350 companies to address hand and finger injuries at the workplace. According to MOM, the companies include those in the manufacturing, construction and marine sectors.
850 enforcement actions were taken against 276 companies, including six Stop-Work Orders and 78 composition fines amounting to $91,000. The main contraventions were the lack of machine guarding, failing to implement lock-out procedures during maintenance and repair, and inadequate risk assessment relating to machinery safety.
There were 30 machinery-related major injuries in the first five months of 2018. Preliminary findings from these incidents showed that there were inadequate safety provisions at the workplace such as the lack of proper machine guarding and risk management.
In 2017, machinery-related incidents were the second leading cause of major injuries at the workplace with 74 cases, where workers are struck by, caught in-between, and cut or stabbed by machines and tools. About 90% of these cases resulted in amputation. The enforcement operation is aimed at reducing machinery related incidents, especially amputations at work and follows the Safe Hands Campaign, which was launched in January 2018.
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Director of occupational safety and health inspectorate Sebastian Tan, said: “Employers and supervisors must identify and eliminate machinery risks in their workplaces and proactively communicate the safe use of machinery to workers. MOM will continue to target inspections in the manufacturing, construction and marine sectors, to ensure that employers improve machinery safety and eliminate amputation risks at workplaces.”
Under the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act, companies that fail to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of their workers can be fined up to $500,000 for the first offence.
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