WSH Alert Accident Advisory, 7 August 2020: Worker fell off parapet wall

WSH Alert Accident Advisory, 7 August 2020: Worker fell off parapet wall

Aug 07, 2020

7 August 2020, Ref: 2021039

Accident Advisory: Worker fell off parapet wall 

Ref: 2021029 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 8 June 2020
On 2 June 2020, two workers were carrying out repair works on a sawdust extractor that was positioned next to a parapet wall. To reach the side of the extractor, one of the workers stood on the parapet wall, lost his footing and fell 12 metres to the ground. The worker was conveyed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
                                              Figure 1: Re-enactment of
                                              accident scene.


Stakeholders such as occupiers, employers and principals in control of similar workplaces and work activities are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:

Safe work environment
The Workplace Safety and Health Act requires both the occupier and employer
   to ensure, provide and maintain a safe working environment for all persons at
   the workplace. 
• Locate all machines such that workers are provided with sufficient space for
   access to the machine and are able to safely perform all operational and
   maintenance works. In this case, the sawdust extractor could be located
   further away from the parapet wall so that workers can easily access the back
   of the machine without having to adopt an awkward posture or unsafe position.  
• Where practicable, consider installing parapet wall railings or fencing to deter
   and prevent workers from climbing and/or going over the parapet wall.
Safe work position
Supervisors should conduct a site assessment and check that the work position
   adopted by each worker is safe before allowing the work to commence. In this
   case, there was a parapet wall and a fall from height risk next to the machine
   that the worker may not have been aware of.
Safe Work Procedure (SWP)
A SWP is a working risk control document that describes the safest and most
   efficient way to perform a certain work activity.
• Establish a SWP for all operational and maintenance work involving the use
   of a machine. The SWP should contain the following elements (non-exhaustive):

     – hazards of the work environment, machines, tools and material used;
     – inherent risks associated with the work activity;
     – operating steps and sequence for carrying out the work safely;
     – risk control measures that are in place including the personal protective
       equipment workers are to use; and
     – residual risks and action to be taken to address the risks while carrying out the
       work activity.

• Provide on-site supervision to ensure adherence to the SWP.
Worker training
Allow only competent and authorised workers to operate and maintain the
   machine. Worker training should cover the hazards posed both by the machine
   and the work environment as well as the control measures in place to minimise
   the risk of an accident.
• To ensure safe use and maintenance of machines, all operators must know the
   SWP and adhere to it at all times. 

Risk Assessment

Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all work activities to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise when working with machinery. The RA should cover but not limited to the following areas:

• Location of the machine and the safety of the immediate work environment;
• Specific work position(s) adopted by workers; and
• Adequacy of on-site supervision.

Further Information

1. Workplace Safety and Health Act
2. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations 
3. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
4. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
5. Singapore Standard SS 537: Part 1: 2008 Code of Practice for Safe Use of
    Machinery Part 1: General Requirements 
6. Singapore Standard SS 567: 2011 Code of Practice for Factory Layout – Safety,
    Health and Welfare Considerations
7. WSH Guidelines on Safe Use of Machinery 
8. WSH Council’s Activity Based Checklist on Working Safely with Machines 
9. WSH Council’s 6 Basic Workplace Safety and Health Rules for Working with Machines
10. WSH Council’s Article “Protect Against Machine Accidents”
11. Directive 2006/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of
     17 May 2006 on Machinery
12. UK HSE’s “Providing and Using Work Equipment Safely – A Brief Guide” 

* Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at
28 July 2020. This may be subject to change as investigations are still on-going. Please also note that the recommendations provided here are not exhaustive and they are meant to enhance workplace safety and health so that a recurrence may be prevented. The information and recommendations provided are not to be construed as implying any liability on any party nor should it be taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and obligations under the law.