WSH Alert Accident Advisory, 21 May 2020: Worker fell while working near a pump of a tank

WSH Alert Accident Advisory, 21 May 2020: Worker fell while working near a pump of a tank

May 21, 2020

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:
Spill control
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.
Emergency response
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
     – adsorbents for solvent and hydrocarbon spills
     – drain covers and caution tape
     – whisk broom or handheld brush, plastic/metal scoops and dust pan
     – leak-proof disposal bags or containers to hold the spilled material and
       contaminated absorbents
     – sealable impervious disposal container(s)

• 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
   is rectified.
• Routinely carry out checks on all control valves to ensure that there are no
   passing valves.
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.
Worker health
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.

Risk Assessment

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

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 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
14 May 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 liability on any party nor should it be taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and obligations under the law.


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