Accident Advisory: Worker fell from aircraft during maintenance work

05 Jun 2020

Ref No.: 050620 (1)

UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

Accident Advisory: Worker fell from aircraft during maintenance work

Accident Advisory: Worker fell from aircraft during maintenance work

Ref: 1920085 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 7 January 2020

On 22 December 2019, a worker overseeing maintenance works on an aircraft fell from the door of the aircraft to the ground. The worker was sent to the hospital where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries on 3 January 2020.


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

Safe access to and egress from the aircraft
• Employers are to provide a safe means for workers to get to and move
   around the designated work area. Access equipment (e.g. platform
   staircase) should be of suitable height and fitted with the necessary
   guard railing to prevent falls.
• The selected access equipment should consider the tools and/or
   equipment that workers are expected to carry and the possible
   environmental conditions that may be encountered. For example, should
   there be a need to work at night, the provision of adequate workplace
   illumination is important. The design of the accessway should also account
   for exposure to the weather as rain will make surfaces slippery and strong
   winds can cause one to lose balance.
Workplace security and access control 
• Occupiers should control access and allow entry only to authorised
   persons as there may be risk of falling from height within the work
   area which unauthorised persons may not be aware of.
Permit-to-Work (PTW) for hazardous work at height situation
• In all workplaces specified as factories, a PTW is a mandatory requirement for
   work at height situations where a person could fall from a height of more than
   3 metres. The PTW should include the following information and checks
   (non-exhaustive) to verify that conditions are safe before allowing the work
   to proceed:
       – Particulars of the personnel assigned to the work.
       – Description and location of the equipment or installation.
       – Description of the work to be carried out.
       – Measures taken to ensure that the equipment or installation has been
          made safe.
       – Fall prevention measures such as the use of suitably guarded work
          platform and a personal fall arrest system.
Hazard communication and Safe Work Procedure (SWP)
• Brief workers on the possible risks associated with the task prior to
   work commencement. Ensure that workers are familiar with the SWP, the
   risk controls that are in place, and any additional precautionary measures that
   they should take.
• If the access equipment must be shared by different teams, then this must be
   carefully planned for and the work must be coordinated to ensure that the
   access equipment is not shifted without the consent of the team that is using
Worker supervision
• Provide on-site supervision to ensure that the SWP is strictly adhered to.
• Consider deploying closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras for continuous
   monitoring of remote areas.
Personal Protective Equipment
• Provide each worker with anti-slip safety footwear.
• Provide each worker with a refective vest so that the worker’s presence at the
   designated work area is clearly visible.
Worker health
• Conduct a pre-work health check at the start of each work shift to verify each
   worker’s fitness to work.
• Workers who are not feeling well should not be placed on the job or 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. from access equipment;
• Work environment e.g. working at night; and
• Work organisation e.g. long working hours.

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. Workplace Safety and Health (Work at Heights) Regulations 2013
5. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
6. Code of Practice for Working Safely at Heights
7. SS 531: Code of Practice for Lighting of Work Places Part 2: Outdoor
8. WSH Guidelines on Anchorage, Lifelines and Temporary Edge Protection Systems
9. WSH Guidelines on Personal Protective Equipment for Work at Heights
10. WSH Guidelines on Fatigue Management
11. WSH Council’s Work at Heights Toolkit for Supervisors
12. WSH Council’s Case Studies on Accidents Involving Work at Heights
13. Basic Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Rules for Work at Heights
14. WSH Council’s Activity Based Checklist for Working Safely on Heights

Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at 25 March 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.