“Urgent safety time-out” called in Singapore after three men die in one week

Safety authorities and contractors in Singapore have called for an "urgent safety time-out" after three men died at construction sites last week.

Between Monday and Wednesday a man was crushed in a boom lift, another fell from height, and a third died in a welding accident.

The fatalities prompted the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council and the Singapore Contractors Association Ltd (SCAL) on Friday to call on contractors to pause and review safety protocols.

They worry that contractors are racing to regain time lost to Covid disruptions and so are "working on tighter deadlines amidst a shortage of manpower in the industry".

"WSH Council and SCAL noted that the recent fatalities reported could have easily been prevented if proper risk assessments had been carried out, site personnel had been vigilant, clear-minded, and maintained high level of safety awareness at all times," they said.

On Monday a worker was raising the work platform of a boom lift when he was caught between the guardrail and a roofing structural member, according to a bulletin on the WSH Council’s website.

He was extricated and pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

On Tuesday, a worker was checking formwork panels at a construction site when he lost his footing and fell about 0.8m to the ground. The worker was taken to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.

The third incident involved a worker who was tasked to carry out arc welding on a pipe on Tuesday.

To facilitate welding works, an inert gas was earlier introduced into the pipe. The worker was subsequently found unconscious with his upper body inside the opening of an adjoining pipe, said the WSH. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

Image ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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  1. Fatality at .8m fall! There really is no minimum height for working at height risks. What a terrible loss for a family

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