The number of workplace fatalities in Singapore fell to a record low last year. Whilst this was great progress, there was also a rise in major and minor non-fatal injuries, which were mostly caused by slips, trips and falls which dampened the results slightly.
Workplace deaths fell to 39 in 2019, or 1.1 per 100,000 workers. This is compared with the 41 deaths in 2018 and marks the lowest rate of fatalities since 2004, when records were first compiled.
But the number of injuries sustained at work rose, according to data released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on 11th March.
Non-fatal major injuries increased by 5 per cent in 2019 to 629 cases. Major injuries usually involve the loss of a body part or function, and includes amputation, fractures, blindness or conditions that require medical leave of more than 20 days.
Meanwhile, minor injuries, which involve conditions that require medical leave of four days or more, also rose by 8 per cent to 13,111 cases last year.
MOM noted that the top cause for both major and minor injuries was slips, trips and falls, with construction workers, drivers, cleaners and security guards being most prone to major injuries because of this.
To reduce the rate of injuries, MOM said it will enhance a course for construction workers to include experiential training and make it mandatory by 2022.
MOM will also step up education and inspection efforts for lower-risk industries, such as accommodation and food services and wholesale and retail trade, to reduce slips, trips and falls among workers – the main cause of non-fatal workplace injuries. For instance, a workplace safety and health module will be made mandatory for cleaners in 2022.