174 companies fined and issued SWOs for workplace safety violations: MOM

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has taken action against 174 companies for 353 workplace safety violations, it said in a press release today (Aug 6).

During the month-long Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) enforcement operation, the ministry has conducted surprise inspections on 250 worksites in high-risk sectors like construction and marine industries.

Among these worksites, 60 were fined between S$1,000 to S$13,000 per inspection and four issued Stop-Work Orders (SWOs) for severe WSH lapses, MOM said.

Some common lapses include open sides and openings at work areas that were left unguarded, failure to take reasonably practicable measures to prevent a person from falling during removal of barrier or guard rail, and the lack of safe means of access to and from work areas.

The occupiers of the four worksites issued SWOs must rectify the unsafe conditions identified, MOM noted.

The ministry added that the lack of trained personnel may lead to the issuance of SWOs, and workers must undergo refresher training to improve their competency before the SWO can be lifted.

To determine whether the worksite has maintained workplace safety, MOM said worksites have to comply with the WSH Regulations: Factories listed under the Schedule must implement Fall Prevention Plans (FPP), and Workplaces classified as factories must implement a Permit to Work System (PTW).

The implementation of FPPs and PTWs helps employers to identify the fall hazards at a worksite and the control measures necessary to mitigate them, it noted.

Eighty-four per cent and 77 per cent of the inspected sites were found to have implemented FPPs and PTW systems respectively.

Director of MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate Chan Yew Kwong said: “We urge contractors to take these processes seriously, and also ensure that control measures are implemented to mitigate WSH risks. Falls from heights are still the leading cause of workplace deaths, so this is an area we will continue to focus on. We will not hesitate to take action against errant employers.”

Under the WSH Act, companies can be fined up to S$500,000 in their first offence for failing to ensure workplace safety and health. Individuals can also be fined up to $200,000 and/or imprisoned up to 24 months.

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