Singapore sees 5.4% Increase in Workplace Injury Cases in 2016

February 24, 20178:58 am898 views

In 2016, there were 66 workplace fatalities resulting in a fatal injury rate of 1.9 per 100,000 employed persons, similar to 2015. The number of fatalities reduced from 42 in 1H2016 to 24 in 2H2016, a 43 percent reduction. However, the number of workplace injury cases increased by 5.4 percent, from 12,351 cases in 2015 to 13,014 in 2016.

Occupational disease cases decreased from 935 in 2015 to 732 in 2016. The construction, marine, manufacturing, and transportation and storage sectors accounted for 76 percent (50 cases) of all workplace fatalities in 2016.

The Construction sector remained the top contributor of workplace fatalities. However, the number of fatalities fell from 27 in 2015 to 24 in 2016. The fatal injury rate also decreased to 4.9 per 100,000 employed persons, the lowest since 2007.

The Marine sector, however, saw an increase in fatalities, from 4 in 2015 to 6 in 2016. Fatalities in the Manufacturing sector also increased, with 9 in 2016, compared to 6 in 2015. The transportation and storage sector accounted for 11 fatalities, compared to 15 in 2015.

Among the 66 fatalities, fall was the leading incident type with 19 (29%) fatalities, followed by struck by moving objects with 13 (20%) fatalities, Caught in/between objects with 8 (12%) fatalities, and struck by falling objects with 6 (9%) fatalities.

Table 1: Number of workplace injuries and occupational diseases, 2015 and 2016

2016 2015
Overall Workplace Injuries 13,014 12,351
  • Fatal Injuries
66 66
  • Major Injuries
594 597
  • Minor Injuries
12,354 11,688
Dangerous Occurrences (DO) 45 46
Occupational Diseases (OD) 732 935


Dr Gan Siok Lin, Executive Director of the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute, commented on the workplace injury scenario in Singapore saying, “Besides looking at fatal injuries, there is a need to pay closer attention to major injuries, which cause much suffering to the injured worker and also his family. Injured workers who are on longer medical leave and have some loss in function are more likely not to return to the workforce.”

Table 2: Number of workplace fatal injuries by industry – 2015 and 2016

Industry 2016 2015
All Sectors 66 66
  • Construction
24 27
  • Marine
6 4
  • Manufacturing
9 6
  • Transportation & Storage
11 15

The number of workplace major injuries decreased slightly from 597 cases in 2015 to 594 cases in 2016. Workplace minor injuries however, increased by 5.7 percent from 11,688 cases in 2015, to 12,354 cases in 2016.

See: MOM steps up efforts as workplace injuries rise

Crushing, Fractures and Dislocations were the leading types of injury, accounting for 55 percent of all workplace major injuries. The number of cases went up slightly from 323 in 2015 to 329 in 2016. Amputations were the second leading injury type, with 143 workers suffering from complete loss of a member/part of a member of the injured person’s body in 2016. This is a 22 percent increase compared to the 117 cases in 2015.

Slips, Trips and fall remained the main area of concern for minor workplace injuries accounting for 27 percent (3,315 cases) of all minor injuries in 2016. The number of Dangerous Occurrences (DO) decreased slightly from 46 cases in 2015 to 45 cases in 2016. The top DO was Collapse/Failure of Structures and Equipment (60% of all DOs), of which 19 cases (42% of all DOs) were incidents related to crane such as collapse, failure of wire ropes and safety devices.

Similar to 2015, the leading occupational diseases (OD) was Noise-Induced Deafness (NID) (322 cases), followed by Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (316 cases). Together they made up for 87 percent of all OD cases.

Dr Gan Siok Lin therefore strongly urged the industry to review risk assessments, to ensure that all workplace hazards are identified and the control measures are communicated to workers, so that they are not harmed by their work and can return home safe to their families. This will also help to raise morale and productivity, when workers know their employers care.

Also read: Role of the Human Brain in Workplace Injuries and Accidents: “Brain-Centered Hazards”

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