Workplace Safety & Health

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1 published by WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH COUNCIL Workplace Safety & Health 2008 (January - June)

2 CONTENTS HIGHLIGHTS Highlights Overview Fatal Workplace Injuries 6 Permanent Disablements 8 Temporary Disablements 9 Occupational Diseases 2 Annex 4 List of Charts and Tables 5 OVERALL WORKPLACE INJURIES In the first half of 2008, 5,26 workplace injuries (including fatalities) were reported. This is an increase of 8 cases or 6.9% compared to the same period last year. Of these, 4 were temporary disablement cases, mainly from construction, ship building and ship repair, transport and storage, and hotel sectors. WORKPLACE FATALITIES There were 26 fatal accidents in the first half of 2008, similar to the corresponding period last year. However, with some of the accidents claiming multiple victims, the overall number of workplace fatalities hit 2, up from the 28 recorded the previous year. The overall fatality rate, at the half-year mark, was.5 deaths per 00, 000 persons employed, up from. a year ago. Construction, ship building and ship repair sectors were the main contributors to workplace fatalities. These sectors, currently experiencing a boom, have to do more to enhance their safety practices and systems in view of the potential increase in workload and entry of new employees. Water supply, sewerage and waste management as well as the transport and storage sectors saw four fatalities, up from two last year. Companies in these sectors need to pay greater attention to workplace safety and health. In terms of accident types, being struck by falling objects was the primary cause of fatal accidents at the work place. Fires and being struck by transport vehicles were the next most common cause of accidents. Fires can potentially lead to multiple victims and has been identified as an area that will be the focus of national efforts this year. Similarly, being struck by transport vehicles is also an emerging area of concern 2. Both the WSH Council and the Ministry of Manpower have initiated efforts to educate the industry in preventing fires and explosions, especially in the use of flammable and hazardous substances, which is a Programme-based Engagement (ProBE) area announced in March This is a focus area for the work by the WSH Council Logistics and Transportation Committee set up in April this year.

3 OVERVIEW PERMANENT DISABLEMENTS In the first half of 2008, 6 workers sustained permanent injuries, down from 7 last year. The complete loss or loss of the use of upper limbs made up 97% of the permanent disablements, most of these involved hands or fingers caught between objects. TEMPORARY DISABLEMENTS Temporary disablements went up by 7.2% in the first half of Construction and ship building and ship repair sectors saw a 6% rise in temporary work injuries. The increase in work activities in the two sectors signals a clear need for both sectors to put in more effort to meet the challenges of an increased workload. Hotels and the transport and storage sectors saw a higher number of temporary disablements reported, with increases of 6% and 22% respectively. For construction, ship building and ship repair and manufacturing sectors, around 40-50% of the temporary work injuries were due to being struck by falling objects, caught in or between objects and falling from height. OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES This year, 27 noise-induced deafness (NID) cases were reported, up from 49 cases in the same reporting period last year. The cases predominantly came from the air transport and supporting services, as well as the manufacturing sector. In 99% of these cases, the disease was in the early stages, with only % in the advanced stage. Preliminary statistics reveal that 5,26 workplace injuries 4 (including fatalities) were reported 5 in the first half of 2008, a 6.9% rise from the previous year (Table ). Less severe workplace injuries (i.e. temporary disablements) contributed to the bulk of the increase, mainly from the construction, ship building and ship repair, transport and storage, and the hotel sectors. There were 26 fatal accidents in the first half of 2008, similar to the January to June period a year ago. However, with some of the accidents claiming multiple victims, the number of workplace fatalities hit 2 in the first six months of 2008, up from 28 in the previous year (Table ). The overall fatality rate, at the half-year mark, was.5 deaths per 00, 000 persons employed, up from. a year ago (Table 2). Permanent disablements saw a drop in numbers from 7 cases in the first half of 2007, to 6 in The number of occupational diseases (OD) 6 increased from87 cases in the first half of 2007 to 290 cases in the same period this year. As at end June 2008, there were. confirmed cases of OD per 00, 000 persons employed, compared to 8.6 in the previous year. The increase was largely due to the jump in the number of noiseinduced deafness (NID) cases. The early detection of NID cases was mainly due to the increased awareness created by the NID Prevention Programme 7 launched last year. Early detection allowed for focused efforts at identified workplaces to improve their management of noise exposure and develop more effective hearing conservation programmes. The early detection and the increase in the number of NID cases was mainly due to the increased awareness created by the NID Prevention Programme launched last year. Such early detection allows for focused efforts on these identified workplaces to improve their management of noise exposure and to develop more effective hearing conservation programmes. Those in the early stages of NID will benefit from the better management by preventing further deterioration of their condition. 2 4 A workplace injury is any personal injury, disease (acute) or death resulting from a workplace accident. Please refer to the annex for the types of workplace injuries covered. 5 Workplaces have to report work incidents to the Ministry of Manpower, a requirement under the WSH (Incident Reporting) Regulations. 6 An occupational disease is a disease (chronic) contracted as a result of an exposure over a period of time to risk factors arising from work activity. A confirmed case of occupational disease is one where there is definite evidence that the worker suffers from a disease which is related to his occupation. Please refer to the WSH Council website at for more information on this programme. 7 Please refer to the WSH Council website at for more information on this programme.

4 Table : Number of Workplace Injuries and Occupational Diseases, 2007 and 2008 p January June 2007 Overall Workplace Injuries 5,26 4,896 0,08 Fatal Permanent Disablement Temporary Disablement 5,4 4,797 9,792 Occupational Diseases Table 2 : Workplace Injury Rate and Occupational Disease Incidence, 2007 and 2008 p As at end June 2007 Overall Workplace Injury Rate Fatal Permanent Disablement Temporary Disablement Occupational Disease Incidence Per 00, 000 Employed Persons The accident frequency rate 0 (AFR), which measures how frequently workplace accidents happen, averaged.0 accident per million man-hours worked in the first half of 2008, marginally higher than the 0.9 a year ago (Table ). Sectors with AFR higher than that in last June were construction and ship building and ship repair. For other sectors, the combined AFR was slightly higher as compared to the previous year due to comparatively more frequent occurrence of accidents in sub-sectors like air transport and supporting services this year. Table : Accident Frequency Rate in Major Sectors, 2007 and 2008 p As at end June 2007 All Sectors Construction Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SSR) Manufacturing (excluding SSR) Six New Sectors under WSH Act Other Sectors (excluding six new sectors) The overall accident severity rate 2 (ASR) was marginally higher than that in last June, where 56 man-days were lost to workplace accidents for every million man-hours worked. At the sectoral level, there was a significant jump in ASR for ship building and ship repair and construction due to more fatalities in the sectors as compared to last year. Similarly, with more fatalities in the six new sectors covered under WSH Act, the combined ASR worsened in the first half of For every million man-hours worked, 56 man-days were lost to workplace accidents as compared to 6 as at end-june last year (Table 4). Table 4 : Accident Severity Rate in Major Sectors, 2007/8 p As at end June 2007 Per million man-hours worked Man-days Lost Per million man-hours worked All Sectors Construction Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SSR) Manufacturing (excluding SSR) Six New Sectors under WSH Act Other Sectors (excluding six new sectors) From March 2008, the coverage of the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA) was expanded to include the following sectors : Water supply, sewerage and waste management Hotels and restaurants Health activities Services allied to transport of goods Veterinary activities Landscape care and maintenance service activities 8 Workplace Injury Rate = No. of Fatal and Non-Fatal Workplace Injuries x 00, 000 No. of Employed Persons 9 Occupational Disease Incidence = No. of Occupational Diseases (i.e. chronic confirmed cases) x 00, 000 No. of Employed Persons 4 0 Accident Frequency Rate (AFR) = No. of Workplace Accidents Reported x,000, 000 No. of Man-hours worked 2 Accident Severity Rate (AFR) = No. of Mandays Lost To Workplace Accidents x,000, 000 No. of Man-hours Worked 5

5 Fatal Workplace Injuries The first half of 2008 saw the same number of fatal accidents as the first half of However, more lives were lost in the workplace as some of the fatal accidents that occurred involved more than one victim (Table 5 and 6). The multiple-victim accidents were from : - Construction, involving a tower crane collapse (three fatalities in the same accident) - Ship building and ship repair, involving A fire (three fatalities in the same accident) Oxygen deficiency leading to asphyxiation (two fatalities in same accident) - Water supply, sewerage and waste management one of the six new sectors under WSH Act - victims were struck by transport vehicles (two fatalities in one accident, victims were struck by transport vehicles). All sectors except manufacturing recorded an increase in workplace fatalities over the six-month period in Construction continued to see the highest number of workplace fatalities, accounting for 0 out of the 0 reported fatalities, up from eight last year. Ship building and ship repair and the six new sectors under WSH Act saw at least a two-fold jump in fatality numbers compared to the previous year. Within the cluster of the six new sectors, all fatalities came from water supply, sewerage and waste management. In the case of others sectors, the main contributor to the fatalities was transport and storage 4. For manufacturing, fatality numbers dropped as its sub-sector, metalworking (which traditionally accounted for the largest share of fatalities) recorded substantially fewer deaths in the first half of 2008 (Table 5). Table 5 : Number of Workplace Fatalities by, 2007 and 2008 p January June 2007 All Sectors 2 (26) 28 (26) 6 (59) Construction Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SSR) 7 9 Manufacturing (excluding SSR) 4 6 Metalworking 6 8 Petrochemical Non-metallic Mineral Products Six New Sectors under WSH Act Water Supply, Sewerage and Waste Management 4 Other Sectors (excluding six new sectors) Struck by falling objects topped the list as the most common accident type, leading to seven workplace fatalities over the six-month period. So far, one out of two construction deaths were associated with such accidents. The next most common accident type was being struck by transport vehicles, which mainly occurred in the storage and warehousing and water supply, sewerage and waste management sectors. Fires and explosions continued to be an area of concern. For the whole of 2007, five workers succumbed to severe burn injuries in such accidents. In the first half of this year, there were five fatalities from three accidents. Table 6 : Number of Workplace Fatalities by Type of Accident, Jan-Jun 2008 p Total Construction Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Manufacturing Six New Sectors under WSHA Total Struck by Falling Objects Struck by Transport Vehicles (including prime movers) Fires and Explosion (due to fire) (due to explosion) (due to fire) Collapse of Tower Crane Falls from Height - - Caught in/between Objects Oxygen Deficiency Fall on the Same Level Drowning Electrocution Others Sectors p :2008 figures are preliminary Figures in parenthesis refer to the number of fatal accidents 6 One of the six new factors under WSH act. 4 This excludes services allied to transport of goods. 7

6 Permanent Disablements TEMPORARY Disablements Permanent disablements refer to non-fatal injuries which are more severe in nature, involving the complete loss or loss of use of any member/part of a member of the injured victim s body (e.g. the amputation of an arm, a finger or the bone of a finger). In the first half of 2008, 6 workers reported sustaining permanent injuries, down from 7 in the same period last year (Table 7). The complete loss or loss of the use of upper limbs made up 97% of the permanent disablement cases, most of these involved hands or fingers caught between objects. In some instances, the victims were struck by sharps or falling objects. All these accidents (including those related to lower limbs) had resulted in the loss of about,400 man-days over a period of six months. Table 7 : Number of Permanent Disablements by, 2007 and 2008 p January June 2007 All Sectors Construction Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SSR) Manufacturing (excluding SSR) Metalworking 7 0 Manufacture of Food Products 4 4 Manufacture of Furniture 4 8 Six New Sectors under WSH Act - 7 Other Sectors Wholesale and Retail Trade 2 2 Transport and Storage Manufacturing, the largest contributor for permanent disablements, saw fewer cases as compared to the same period a year ago. Its sub-sector metalworking, which traditionally accounts for around half of the cases reported, had posted a drop in numbers. Ship building and ship repair, however, saw a rise in permanent disablement cases, from five victims in the first half of 2007 to 0 in Temporary disablement cases went up by 7.2% in the first half of 2008 (Table 8). Construction and ship building and ship repair saw a 6% rise in temporary work injury. This coincides with the increase in work activities in the two sectors 5. Hotels and the transport and storage sector (excluding services allied to transport of goods) also recorded significant increases by 6% and 22% respectively. Manufacturing, however, saw a 5% decline in temporary disablement cases. On a positive note, this sector has also recorded fewer fatalities and permanent disablement cases in Table 8 : Number of Temporary Disablements, 2007 and 2008 p January June 2007 All Sectors 5,4 4,797 9,792 Construction,28,46 2,40 Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SSR) Manufacturing (excluding SSR),299,68 2,809 Metalworking ,296 Manufacture of Food Products and Beverages 52 5 Six New Sectors under WSH Act Water Supply, Sewerage and Waste Management 20 4 Hotels and Restaurants Hotels Restaurants Health Activities Services Allied to Transport of Goods Landscape Care and Maintenance Service Activities 7 9 Other Sectors,748,555,66 Wholesale and Retail Trade Transport and Storage (excluding services allied to transport of goods) According to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Trade and (MTI), the construction sector continued to register a healthy growth rate at 7.4% in the 2nd quarter of Besides, the certified payment (which measures the amount of work completed in the construction sector) also went up by 2%. The latest manpower data also revealed that construction jobs grew by 6,600 in the first half of 2008, more than double as compared to a year ago. Similarly, the marine and offshore engineering segment maintained its strong performance, expanding by 9 per cent in the second quarter of 2008, due to an increase in shipbuilding and ship repair activities. 9

7 The top three accident types leading to temporary disablements in various sectors are listed in Table 9. For construction, ship building and ship repair and manufacturing, around 40-50% of the temporary work injuries were due to: - Struck by falling objects (SBFO) - Caught in or between objects (CIBO) - Falls from height (FFH) Struck by falling objects was the most prevalent accident type for construction and ship building and ship repair. Workers employed in these sectors are generally at higher risk from falling objects as their work frequently requires them to work beneath scaffolds, cranes or areas where other forms of overhead work are performed. Being struck by falling objects was also responsible for the most number of fatalities so far, overtaking falls from height as the top killer in the workplace. The top three accident types was relatively varied for the six new sectors under WSH Act and other sectors, reflecting the heterogeneity of work activities carried out in these sectors. For instance, the following areas would be more of a concern to the hotels and restaurants sector - Slips and trips - Cuts or stabbed by objects - Contact with hot substances or objects Wet kitchen floors due to the lack of proper housekeeping and the need to come into contact with sharp tools, hot liquids or utensils while preparing food, are working conditions that increase the likelihood of getting injured at work in this sector. Table 9 : Top Three Accident Types for Temporary Disablements by, 2008 p Top Accident Types st 2 nd rd All Sectors SBFO CIBO FFH Construction SBFO FFH CIBO Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SSR) SBFO CIBO FFH Manufacturing (excluding SSR) CIBO SBFO CSBO Metalworking CIBO SBFO SBO Manufacture of Food Products CIBO ST CSBO Six New Sectors under WSH Act 6 ST FFH SBFO Water Supply, Sewerage and Waste Management SBFO FFH CIBO Hotels and Restaurants ST CSBO CWHS Health Activities ST CIBO OESM Services Allied to Transport of Goods FFH ST SAO Landscape Care and Maintenance Services Activities ST CIBO FFH Other Sectors ST FFH SBFO Wholesale and Retail Trade FFH SBFO ST Transport and Storage SBFO FFH SBO Legend : CIBO : Caught in/between Objects FFH : Falls from Height SBFO : Struck by Falling Objects SBO : Struck by Objects SAO : Strike Against Objects ST : Slips and Trips CWHS : Contact with Hot Substances CSBO : Cut or Stabbed by Objects OESM : Over-exertion and Strenuous Movements 0 6 The number of workplace injuries reported by the Veterinary Activities sector was negligible

8 Occupational Diseases In the first half of 2008, 290 cases of occupational diseases (OD) were confirmed, up from 87 in the same period last year. Overall OD incidence stood at. cases per 00,000 persons employed as compared to 8.6 cases as at end-june last year. This increase was largely due to more noise-induced deafness (NID) cases reported. The NID Prevention Programme contributed to a rise in awareness and increased reporting of NID cases. As 99% of the cases detected were in the early stages of NID, efforts taken to improve noise management at these workplaces will help to prevent further deterioration of the workers condition. These workplaces are mainly in air transport and supporting services and manufacturing (Table 0). Manufacturing continued to lead with the highest number of OD cases, accounting for a 50% share. More than three-quarters (78%) of the ODs confirmed in this sector, specifically the NID, were from the metalworking and transport equipment sub-sectors. From January to June 2008, the number of ODs confirmed in metalworking was almost twice that in the same period last year. As for the six new sectors under the WSH Act, they saw a drop in numbers. Table 0 : Number of Occupational Diseases by, 2007 and 2008 p January June 2007 All Sectors Construction Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (SSR) 4 5 Manufacturing (excluding SSR) Metalworking Manufacture of Transport Equipment 0 6 Six New Sectors under WSH Act Water Supply, Sewerage and Waste Management Hotels and Restaurants Health Activities 2 8 Others Air Transport and Supporting Services NID, which typically made up fourth-fifths (or 8%) of the ODs confirmed, saw.5 times more cases confirmed in 2008 compared to the corresponding period last year (Chart ). Occupational skin disease, the second most common OD, saw an increase of five cases from 27 last year to 2 in There were more chemical-related ODs in the first half of So far, six cases of chemical poisoning and three cases of chemical absorption were confirmed. There were no chemical poisoning cases in Last year saw three cases of excessive chemical absorption. Chart : Distribution of Occupational Diseases by Type, 2007 and 2008 p Jan-Jun Jan-Jun TOTAL Noise-induced Deafness (NID) Occupational Skin Diseases Excessive Absorption of Chemicals Chemical Poisoning Barotrauma Occupational Lung Diseases Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders Compressed Air Illness Others

9 Annex list of charts AND TABLES Source of Data Data on workplace injuries and occupational diseases are collected from incident reports made by employers, occupiers and medical practitioners in the fulfilment of their obligations under the Factories Act and Workplace Safety and Health (Incident Reporting) Regulations. Data Coverage The types of workplace injuries and occupational diseases covered in the reported statistics include the following: Workplace injuries sustained by employees and resulting in more than three consecutive days of medical leave; Workplace injuries sustained by employees and resulting in at least 24 hours of hospitalisation; Workplace accidents resulting in the death of employees, self-employed persons and persons not at work; Workplace accidents resulting in the injury of self-employed persons and persons not at work who have to be taken to the hospital for treatment; Charts Chart : Distribution of Occupational Diseases by Type, 2007 and 2008 p Tables Table : Number of Workplace Injuries and Occupational Diseases, 2007 and 2008 p 4 Table 2: Workplace Injury Rate and Occupational Disease Incidence, 2007 and 2008 p 4 Table : Accident Frequency Rate in Major Sectors, 2007 and 2008 p 5 Table 4: Accident Severity Rate in Major Sectors, 2007/8 p 5 Table 5: Number of Workplace Fatalities by, 2007 and 2008 p 6 Table 6: Number of Workplace Fatalities by Type of Accident, Jan-Jun 2008 p 7 Table 7: Number of Permanent Disablements by, 2007 and 2008 p 8 Table 8: Number of Temporary Disablements, 2007 and 2008 p 9 Table 9: Top Three Accident Types for Temporary Disablements by, 2008 p Table 0: Number of Occupational Diseases by, 2007 and 2008 p 2 Dangerous occurrences listed in the Second Schedule of the Workplace Safety and Health Act; and Occupational diseases listed in the Third Schedule of the Workplace Safety and Health Act. 4 5

10 This page was meant to be blank. Published in September 2008 by Workplace Safety and Health Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written permission. The information provided in this publication is accurate as at time of printing. The Workplace Safety and Health Council does not accept any liability or responsibility to any party for losses or damage arising from following this publication. 6

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