Third installment of national workplace safety and health campaign was launched on Wednesday (Jan 17). Entitled as “Safe Hands” campaign, the event was aimed to raise awareness about hand and finger injuries that could result in amputations. This will be the final phase of campaign series initiated by the Workplace Safety and Health Council, with two earlier phases focused on falls and vehicle accidents.
Delivering a speech at the launch of the campaign, Minister of State for Manpower, Mr Sam Tan noted that there has been a steady volume of amputation injuries since 2012, with an average of 10 to 12 cases reported in a month. Data compiled from last year showed that there were 125 amputation cases. Of this number, 117 cases or 94 percent were hand-related, Straits Times reports.
“From handling such amputation cases, we know that the injuries affect the livelihoods of workers whose jobs rely on operating machinery or handling materials,” Mr Tan said at the event at the SATS Inflight Catering Centre.
According to the ministry’s investigation, it is found that more than half (55 percent) amputation injuries were most likely attributed by inadequate safety provisions at the workplace, such as the lack of proper machine guarding and risk management.
Mr Tan noted that the campaign also comes forward after a Manpower Ministry enforcement operation between September and November last year, which targets to promote machinery safety and explain other amputation hazards.
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According to him, MOM officials have visited over 400 workplaces in the manufacturing and construction sectors and took more than 1,000 enforcement actions. The most common issues found were related to machinery, as the number reached up to 200. Other causes include poor machine maintenance, unauthorised operation of machinery, as well as inadequate training for workers who operate the machines, he added.
To address these causes, Mr Tan advised business leaders to walk to the ground, such that they can recognise, identify, manage and control amputation hazards caused by mechanical components of machines. They could also see the safety risks that workers are exposed to when the machines are in operation, or unsafe activities that workers perform.
Only when management shows its attention, support and commitment to safety, every employee will take notice too, said Mr Tan. Then, the employees will pay same attention and comply with the necessary safety practices required at the workplace where machines are used.
Additionally, Mr Tan also urged companies to make use of the Ministry of Manpower’s Job Redesign Grant, which provides up to $300,000 in funding to help companies use technology to improve safety standards and enhance production efficiency.
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