Employers in the manufacturing, construction and marine sectors in Singapore need to review their workplace safety guidelines for machinery, as the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has penalised companies that failed to comply with industry regulations.
MOM specifically focused on these industries due to the high level of involved risks such as slip, trip, and fall incidents. It cited a “lack of machine guarding” among safety lapses for heavy-duty equipment as one of the reasons for cracking down on regulatory compliance. The ministry has already issued six stop-work orders after it inspected 350 companies between April and May.
Almost 80 employers received penalties worth $91,000 during the same period. In some cases, the Work Safety and Health Act in Singapore may even require a company to pay up to $500,000 in fines just for the first violation. While some have been sanctioned, the MOM still plans to continue its work. The heightened security inspections stem from 30 machine-related fatalities between January and May.
MOM intends to inspect 250 more work environments between July and August, aside from conducting 500 safety checks since May. It would also review workplace safety beyond land-based industries, particularly in the commercial-diving sector.
Commercial divers arguably face greater risk since it can be more challenging to work underwater. So far, only two people have died while on the job between April and May. However, this number is already a huge one in an industry with just 200 workers, according to Zaqy.
Heavy machinery requires special attention since it can be a common cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. Companies should consider investing in security protocols and resources, which correctly instruct how to operate machines and protect employees from possible harm.