Anything can happen when you’re working at a construction site. A wrong move or a stroke of bad luck, and you could end up injured or worse. These are the sentiments of Singaporean workers in construction industries, as revealed by studies about construction sites being one of the deadliest workplaces.
Rising Construction-related Fatalities
Statistics showed the rising injuries and deaths in construction industries and their causes. The Strait Times revealed that fatality rate in the construction sector has risen in the past three years – from 5.5 per 100,000 workers in 2011, to 7 per 100,000 workers last year. Inspectors from the Ministry of Manpower found various workplace safety and health violations for work at heights, scaffolding and electrical lapses such as missing guardrails.
Addressing the issue
Lack of information and implementation on occupational health and safety training measures are seen as proximate causes of rising casualties in construction sites. In response, the government encourages construction companies to undergo bizsafe courses on construction safety. Sessions should focus from employee to employer level.
As the people on the frontlines, construction workers should have knowledge of construction safety methods and materials. This will prevent the incidence of construction-related fatalities. They should also know the laws on occupational health and safety to determine if their employers comply with government standards.
The WSH Act of 2006 requires supervisors, especially those working with scaffolds, to undergo training sessions as approved by the Commissioner for Workplace Safety & Health. They should have knowledge of construction safety measures for building construction, lifting and other related matters. These will enable them to conduct thorough inspections and ensure construction site safety before work starts.
Employers are responsible for identifying safety hazards at workplaces and implementing measures to decrease the risks of construction-related accidents among their employees. In-depth knowledge of risk management is essential so they can conduct proper risk assessment and create occupational health and safety systems that suit their business needs. Employers should also undergo courses on OHS legislations to create a workplace that meets government standards.
Construction-related casualties in Singapore will drastically increase without effective occupational health and safety measures. Training sessions on construction safety will reduce, if not eliminate, this growing problem.