Labour woes, tighter deadlines due to COVID-19 contributing to workplace deaths
Manpower shortages and tighter deadlines due to COVID-19 disruptions may have caused the recent spate of workplace accidents and fatalities, said industry players and safety experts.
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So far this year, there have been 25 workplace deaths, with three being reported over the past two weeks. The number of fatalities has since surpassed the 23 recorded in the first half of 2021.
Commenting on the issue last month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said safety standards and practices “seem to have slipped” as the economy reopens.
The number of workplace deaths thus far “is far too many, and not acceptable”, he added in a Facebook post dated May 9. “We have lost ground. We must put this right.”
Industry players and safety experts who spoke to CNA cited the pandemic’s ripple effects as a key source of pressure.
“The aftermath of COVID-19 has led to tighter timelines, manpower shortages, unintended complacency of personnel and other contributing factors,” said Mr Yong Jian Rong, who chairs the workplace safety and health sub-committee at the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL).
Mr Lim Boon Khoon, the founder of Hazard Evaluation and Loss Prevention Consultants, questioned if workers have been sent for refresher training, which would be necessary after being away from worksites or having segregated teams and duties for some time due to COVID-19 safety rules.