WSH Alert Accident Advisory, 21 May 2020: Worker fell while working near a pump of a tank
21 May 2020, Ref: 2021121
Accident Advisory: Worker fell while working near a pump of a tank
|Ref: 2021003 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 9 April 2020|
|On 1 April 2020, a worker was working near a pump of a tank when he slipped and fell. He was conveyed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on 5 April.|
| Figure 1: The accident scene after spill
|Persons in control of workplaces and work activities such as occupiers, principals and employers are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:|
• Construct a secondary containment facility at the base of each pump so that any
leaks or spills would be confined inside the containment area. Ideally, the
secondary containment facility should be provided with direct drainage to a sump.
• Install a spillage tray under the hose to pump connection. The rate of drainage
can be considered in assigning a suitable dimension to the spillage tray.
• Provide periodic supervision on site to ensure that there is no overflow
from spillage tray or secondary containment, arising from any choke or sudden
upsurge in the rate of drainage.
• Establish an Emergency Response Plan and spill control procedure for
minor leak or spill scenario considering the nature of the material being released
(e.g. whether it is toxic or flammable).
• Minor leaks or spills may be handled by trained personnel or the Company
Emergency Response Team. Prepare a suitable spill control kit for emergency
use. Contents of a typical spill control kit include (non-exhaustive):
– universal inert absorbents (e.g. absorbent booms, pads, pillows) for spill
• For major leaks, notify the Singapore Civil Defence Force and/or Police.
|Preventive maintenance and leak prevention
• Place all continuously operated equipment (including pumps) on a strict
preventive maintenance programme.
• Replace pump connections (e.g. pipes, hoses, fittings) and pump seals on a
schedule recommended by the manufacturer or parts supplier depending on
your equipment use.
• Routinely inspect all pumps during operation to check for leaks and other
operating anomalies. In particular, look for signs of leakage especially at pump
seals, fittings and suction/discharge valves. Resume work only after such leakage
• Routinely carry out checks on all control valves to ensure that there are no
|Safe Work Procedure (SWP)
• Establish and implement a SWP for pump maintenance and clean-up of leaks
and spills. During pump maintenance, leakage is to be expected as the pump is
cleared of its contents and the follow-up clean-up activity must be planned for.
• The SWP should incorporate steps to check that risk controls are in place and
provide guidance on the additional precautionary measures that should be taken.
• Train workers on the SWP and conduct briefings on the on-site hazards and
possible risks associated with the task prior to work commencement.
|Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
• Provide workers involved in clean-up operations with the necessary PPE e.g.
chemical protective clothing, safety footwear, chemical-resistant gloves, safety
goggles and respirator.
• As leak or spill clean-up involves working on surfaces that may be more slippery
than usual due to floor contamination (e.g. due to release of oil or sludge), it
is important that workers be provided with non-slip safety footwear to prevent
slips and falls.
• Place non-slip footwear on a regular inspection and replacement programme.
Such replacement programme should collect back the used footwear in exchange
for new one. This is so that the use of worn out footwear can be prevented,
thereby minimising the risk of slips and falls.
• Conduct a pre-work health survey at the start of each work shift to verify each
worker’s fitness to work for the task at hand. Workers who are feeling unwell
should not be placed on the task or work shift.
Conduct a holistic Risk Assessment (RA) to identify possible hazards associated with the work activity. The RA should cover all foreseeable risks but not limited to the following areas:
|• Slip and fall hazards e.g. arising from possible floor contamination that could
arise during the course of work
• Condition of anti-slip footwear provided
• Adequacy of existing spill clean-up SWP for different material(s) being released
• The need for active on-site task supervision
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 513: 2013 Specification for Personal Protective
Equipment – Footwear
– Part 1: Safety Footwear
– Part 2: Test Methods for Footwear
6. PUB’s Code of Practice on Sewerage and Sanitary Works (2019)
7. SCDF Guidelines for Emergency Response Plan
8. SCDF Guidelines for Company Emergency Response Team
9. SCDF Evacuation Planning Guidelines
10. WSH Guidelines on Workplace Housekeeping
11. WSH Council’s 6 Basic WSH Rules to Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
12. WSH Council’s Activity-Based Checklist on Slips, Trips and Falls
13. HSE’s Information Document on Risks from Sewage Sludge Drying Plants
Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at
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