Accident Advisory: Cleaner found lying at staircase landing

30 Apr 2020

Ref No.: 300420 (1)

UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

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.


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 programme..


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 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.


  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.