SINGAPORE: Singapore recorded 36 workers lost their lives as a result of accidents at the workplace in 2023, compared with 46 workplace deaths recorded in 2022.
This trend continued from previous years, with 37 deaths in 2021, 30 in 2020, and 39 in 2019.
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad on Wednesday (31 January) revealed that Singapore’s workplace fatality rate fell below 1 per 100,000 workers in 2023, marking the first time it dropped below that threshold since 2020.
The workplace fatality rate in 2022 reached 1.3 per 100,000 workers, the highest since 2015 and 2016. 2016 also recorded the highest workplace death, with 66 fatalities.
He disclosed these statistics when delivered a speech at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) U Safe Forum and Awards 2024.
To combat this concerning trend, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) implemented a heightened safety period from September 2022 to May 2023.
He expressed satisfaction that the fatality rate of 0.99 in 2023 was a significant decrease from the 2.1 recorded in 2013.
“This is a significant achievement as only four OECD countries, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden, have consistently achieved such a rate. This puts Singapore among the world class,” he said.
“In 10 years, we have seen a significant difference as a result of the hard work that has been done on the ground.”
He highlighted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s target of sustaining a workplace fatal injury rate of less than 1.0 per 10,000 workers by 2028.
While acknowledging the milestone reached in 2023, Senior Minister of State Mohamad stressed the importance of continued vigilance and effort to maintain this improvement.
“We need to have proper risk assessment and management in place. When an incident occurs, we must investigate it thoroughly, identify the underlying causes, learn from our mistakes, and do our best to avoid doing it again,” he said.
He expressed confidence that with sustained effort, Singapore can maintain low workplace fatality rates over the long term.
Intensified focus on workplace safety following series of workplace incidents in 2023
In 2023, a series of significant workplace incidents prompted the MOM to intensify its focus on workplace safety within the construction and industry sectors.
MOM pledged to implement stricter safety measures, aiming to reverse the concerning trend.
On 15 June, a 20-year-old Indian national worker was tragically killed when a wall at a demolition site in Tanjong Pagar collapsed on him.
Despite strenuous efforts by the elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel, the man was found trapped under the wreckage and was declared dead at the scene.
In another incident on 11 July, a 33-year-old worker at a worksite in Jurong West was killed when he was struck by a reversing wheel loader. Despite immediate attention from SCDF paramedics, the man died at the scene.
On 13 July, a 30-year-old Indian worker died in a workplace accident at the Changi East project site, which involves the construction of Terminal 5 (T5) and an additional runway for Changi Airport.
On 29 July, a worker was found unconscious at the worksite at the Tuas Port Phase 2 and later passed away in a hospital.
In September, two construction workers, both Indian and Bangladeshi nation, lost their lives in separate accidents at Land Transport Authority (LTA) worksites.
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