WSH Alert Accident Advisory, 18 March 2020: Worker fell through false ceiling
18 March 2020, Ref: 1920111
Accident Advisory: Worker fell through false ceiling
|Ref: 1920093 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 29 January 2020|
On 25 January 2020 around 1:25am, a worker was cleaning a walkway located above the atrium ceiling (false ceiling) of a shopping mall when he fell through the false ceiling. He was conveyed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
|Figure 1 and 2: Overview of the accident scene.|
Building owners, designers and persons in control of similar workplaces and work activities such as occupiers and employers are advised to mitigate all WSH hazards and implement risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:
• Conduct thorough inspections to all areas to identify WSH hazards and assess
WSH risks. WSH hazards include risk of falling from or falling through fragile
surfaces. These risks are further aggravated if proper guard rails are not installed
or there is inadequate lighting.
• Communicate the hazards and risks to contractors who will carry out maintenance
work within the restricted/enclosed/concealed areas. Communication should be
thorough and location-specific.
• Implement control measures to address all hazards identified, with consideration
of prevailing regulations, standards and acceptable code of practices.
– Provision of perimeter guard-railing or guard rail with intermediate guard rail
Note: The above requirements have been stipulated in regulation 9 of the Workplace Safety and Health (Work at Heights) Regulations 2013 and ACOP SS 567:2011 – Code of Practice for Factory Layout – Safety, Health and Welfare Consideration. For reference of temporary edge protection, refer to SS EN 13374.
| – If there are areas of fragile surface, warning signs must be displayed at all|
access points and on the guard rails at suitable intervals to warn persons
from accidentally stepping onto them.
| – For poorly lit areas, additional permanent lightings must be provided so|
that hazard(s) can be easily identified along with their corresponding risk
• Conduct site-specific risk assessment to the work area for any safety lapses and
ensure that precautions have been taken before commencing work.
• Provide standing supervision when carrying out works near false ceiling or
• Brief workers on on-site hazards, risk controls that are in place and the
necessary precautions to take while at work, including proper use of equipment
and materials for the work.
• Ensure that workers have undergone and passed the relevant training for work
where there is a risk of falling.
• When designing access walkway, services (e.g. Mechanical and Electrical) or
supporting structures (e.g. trusses) for restricted or enclosed areas, always
pay attention to provision for safe access and egress, adequate lighting and
provision of fall protection to future work to be carried out in these areas, such
as maintenance work by building contractors, inspection work by Qualified
Persons or installation of telecommunication devices by specialist contractors.
As a good practice, designers should engage with downstream stakeholders
(e.g. Facilities Management practitioners and contractors) to appreciate the
way maintenance would be undertaken and account for this at planning and
• The WSH (Design for Safety) Regulation stipulated that during the design of a
building, regardless of whether it is a new-build construction or an Addition and
Alteration project, developers / building owners and designers must always
remember that their design decisions can affect the health and safety of workers
and others who construct, maintain, repair, clean, refurbish and eventually
demolish or remove the building or structure. Taking into account risks arising
from the design can have a positive impact on the project and make it easier for
these risks to be managed by contractors who construct and those who maintain
• The WSH Guidelines on Design for Safety helps designers to understand and be
aware of significant risks that workers can be exposed to, and how these can
arise from their design decisions. Through a maintenance strategy report,
designers must capture and provide their clients with health and safety
information that might affect them or downstream stakeholders during and
after construction, for example, details on how to clean, access or maintain
parts of their design.
1. Workplace Safety and Health Act
2. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
3. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
4. Workplace Safety and Health (Design for Safety) Regulations 2015
5. Workplace Safety and Health (Construction) Regulations 2007
6. Workplace Safety and Health (Work at Heights) Regulations 2013
7. Approved Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
8. Approved Code of Practice for Working Safely at Height
9. Approved Code of Practice SS 567:2011 – Code of Practice for Factory Layout
– Safety, Health and Welfare Consideration
10. Approved Code of Practice SS 531: Code of Practice for Lighting of work places
Part 1: Indoor
11. Approved Code of Practice SS 531: Code of Practice for Lighting of work places
Part 2: Outdoor
12. Approved Code of Practice SS 531: Code of Practice for Lighting of work places
Part 3: Lighting requirements for safety and security of outdoor work places
13. Approved Code of Practice SS EN 13374: Temporary edge protection systems
– Product specifications – Test methods
14. Workplace Safety and Health Guidelines on Design for Safety
15. Workplace Safety and Health Guidelines for Personal Protective Equipment for
Work at Heights
16. WSH Guidelines on Anchorages, Lifelines and Temporary Edge Protection Systems
17. Workplace Safety and Health Guidelines on Contractor Management
18. 6 Basic Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Rules for Working at Heights
19. Work At Heights Toolkit for Supervisors
20. Working Safely at Heights checklist
21. Design for Maintainability Guide by BCA
22. Facade Access Design Guide by BCA
Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at
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