WSH Alert Accident Advisory, 30 April 2020: Cleaner found lying at staircase landing

WSH Alert Accident Advisory, 30 April 2020: Cleaner found lying at staircase landing

Apr 30, 2020

30 April 2020, Ref: 2021013

Accident Advisory: Cleaner found lying at staircase landing 

Ref: 2021001 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 7 April 2020
On 28 March 2020, a cleaner was found lying on the staircase landing of a residential building with his cleaning equipment nearby. The injured cleaner was conveyed to the hospital where he passed away the following morning.
                                      Figure 1: Overview of the accident scene.


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

Safe work environment
Ensure staircases and staircase landings are sufficiently illuminated. Defective
   lightings should be replaced immediately.
• Highlight the edge of steps (and slopes) to increase their visibility, for example,
   by painting with anti-slip paint or applying anti-slip tape. 
• Equip wider staircases with handrails on both the left and right sides of the
   staircase. For very wide staircases, consider installing additional handrails in the
   middle of the staircase.
• Encourage workers to report to their supervisors once they encounter unsafe
   work conditions.
Safe Work Procedure (SWP)
Brief workers on possible on-site hazards, associated risks and control measures
   prior to starting work.
• Check that workers are familiar with the SWP for working at staircases.
• Place signs or stickers at staircases to remind staircase users on the importance
   of using handrails to prevent falls.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Provide workers with footwear that is suitable for the location of work, such as
   non-slip shoes.
• Conduct checks to ensure that workers put on the provided footwear while
   at work.
• Place all company-issued footwear on a regular inspection and replacement

Risk Assessment

Employers, principals and contractors are required to conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all cleaning activities at work premises to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise. The RA should address, but not limited to, the following areas:

Ground condition
Assess the ground condition at the designated work area for slip, trip and fall hazards, and look out for locations where one may easily lose balance (e.g. if workers are required to work on steps or sloping surfaces). Highlight these hazards to the worker and advise on the SWP. 
Worker health
Consider the health condition of the worker to ensure that he is sufficiently fit for the physical demands of the assigned task. Ensure workers have enough rest as fatigue can reduce one’s alertness to hazards in the work environment. 

Further Information

1. Workplace Safety and Health Act 
2. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
3. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
4. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
5. WSH Council’s Guide to Workplace Safety and Health (p/19-21)
6. WSH Guidelines on Cleaning and Custodial Services 
7. WSH Guidelines on Workplace Housekeeping
8. Singapore Standard SS 485: 2011 Specification for Slip Resistance Classification
    of Pedestrian Surface Materials
9. Singapore Standard SS 513: 2013 Specification for Personal Protective Equipment
    – Footwear – Part 1: Safety Footwear; Part 2: Test Methods for Footwear
10. Singapore Standard SS 531: 2006 (2019) Code of Practice for Lighting of Work
      Places – Part 1: Indoor
11. Singapore Standard SS 531: 2008 (2019) Code of Practice for Lighting of Work
      Places – Part 2: Outdoor
12. WSH Council’s Activity-Based Checklist for Slips, Trips and Falls
13. WSH Council’s WSH Checklist for Facilities Management
14. WSH Council’s 6 Basic WSH Rules to prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at
15 April 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.


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