WSH Alert Accident Advisory, 24 August 2020: Worker fell though floor opening
24 August 2020, Ref: 2021042
Accident Advisory: Worker fell though floor opening
|Ref: 2021038 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 5 August 2020|
On 3 August 2020, a group of workers was carrying out Addition & Alteration (A&A) works on the second storey of a building. When two of the workers tried to remove the wooden planks on the floor, one of them fell through a floor opening under the planks and landed on the first storey. The worker was conveyed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
| Figure 1: The worker fell 6.4m to|
Stakeholders, in control of similar workplaces and work activities, such as occupiers, principals and employers are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:
|Covered floor opening|
• All floor openings should be securely covered to prevent persons from falling
through or stepping into the opening. The cover must be made of a material
that is of adequate strength to support the weight of the person(s) standing on it.
The cover should also be secured to prevent it from dislodging.
• When an opening is protected by a cover, a suitable warning sign ought to be
placed nearby and/or on the cover itself to alert workers of the presence of a
hazard. The warning sign should clearly indicate the hazard and be legible to
all concerned, including workers and members of the public.
|Figure 2: Examples of suitable warning signs.|
|Barricading of hazardous area|
• All hazardous areas such as floor openings where there is a risk of falling should
be barricaded (e.g. with fencing, hoarding or guard rails) to prevent unauthorised
entry. The barriers should be erected on all paths and possible approaches to the
|Figure 3: Example of a secure barrier.|
|Risk communication and WSH awareness|
• Brief all workers on the possible hazards and risks that they could encounter in
the designated work area. Principals and employers may use toolbox meetings
to communicate on-site hazards and the risk controls in place to all persons
(including contractors) about to work in the vicinity. In general, workers should
be advised to stay away from hazardous areas especially if their work does not
require them to be at that location.
• Should there be a need to work next to an area where one could fall from height,
remind workers to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves by using
proper personal protective equipment (e.g. non-slip shoes and harness/belt to
connect to a travel restraint or personal fall arrest system).
Employers and contractors are reminded to conduct a thorough risk assessment before starting A&A works to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise. Recognise hazards associated with building interior works such as unprotected edges or openings and address the possibility of falling from height. Occupiers and employers are reminded of the need to establish a fall prevention plan and to work closely with their principals and contractors to ensure the safety of all work areas. For floor openings, key measures include installing secure covers, erecting suitable barriers, placing warning signs and deploying a travel restraint or fall arrest system. To prevent accidents, it is important that on-site rectifications are carried out as soon as possible once an unsafe condition is identified.
1. Workplace Safety and Health Act
2. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
3. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
4. Workplace Safety and Health (Work at Heights) Regulations 2013
5. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
6. Code of Practice for Working Safely at Heights
7. Singapore Standard SS508 series – Graphical Symbols – Safety Colours and
8. WSH Guidelines on Anchorage, Lifelines and Temporary Edge Protection Systems
9. WSH Guidelines on Personal Protective Equipment for Work at Heights
10. WSH Guidelines on Contractor Management
11. WSH Council’s Guide to Effective Toolbox Meeting
12. WSH Council’s Case Studies on Accidents Involving Work at Heights
13. WSH Council’s 6 Basic WSH Rules for Work at Heights
14. WSH Council’s Activity Based Checklist for Working Safely at Heights
Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at
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