16 Jul 2019
Ref No: 160719 (1)
Dear Valued ASPRI Members,
Accident Advisory: Worker fell into pit
Ref: 1920019 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 13 June 2019
On 9 June 2019 around 1.30am, a worker tasked with performing security duties at a rooftop bar spotted guests trespassing into an area that was cordoned off for exterior building cleaning works. He entered the cordoned off area and fell into a 4 metre deep pit as he was walking towards the guests. He was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics.
Stakeholders in control of similar workplaces and work activities, such as employers and contractors, are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:
Covered floor opening
- All floor openings should be securely covered to prevent persons from falling through or stepping into the openings. The cover must be made of a material that is of adequate strength to support loading (weight) according to the planned usage for the area. When an opening is protected by a cover, a suitable warning sign (see Figure 2) should be placed nearby or on the cover itself to warn of the presence of a hazard.
- For work where an existing cover for a floor opening needs to be temporarily removed, the cover should be replaced at the end of each work day or once the work activity is completed.
Barricading of danger area
- In the event that the installation or placement of a secure cover is not practical, the area should be barricaded (e.g. with fencing or hoarding) to prevent entry.
- A rigid barrier such as guard rails should also be used to cordon off specific danger areas such as deep pits where there is a risk of falling. Such barriers should be erected on all paths to the hazard to prevent unauthorised access.
- Appropriate warning signs should be placed at the barriers and at all access routes leading to the danger area. The warning signs should clearly indicate the hazard(s) within the barricaded area. Additionally, danger areas may also be marked using hazard warning tape.
- All barriers and warning signs must be visible and legible to all concerned, including workers and members of the public.
- Warning signs should be illuminated for night time visibility or adverse weather conditions when general lighting (whether natural or artificial) does not provide for sufficient visibility.
Risk communication and awareness
- Workers should be briefed on the possible hazards and risks that they could encounter in the designated work area.
- Remind workers to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves by wearing the proper personal protective equipment (e.g. non-slip shoes and harness/belt for connection to a travel restraint system), where appropriate, to prevent falls while at work.
- Blinking beacon lights could be used in conjunction with warning signs and deployed in areas of darkness or poor visibility to warn of the presence of a hazard.
- Unauthorised persons should be cautioned to keep away from danger areas at all times.
Employers and contractors must conduct thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for each of their work activities to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise. The RA should address, but is not limited to, the following areas:
Exterior building cleaning works
Recognise hazards associated with façade cleaning and building maintenance works such as working at heights and the use or storage of maintenance equipment. Building owners are reminded to work with their contractors to ensure the safety and security of the work area to prevent unauthorised access at any time.
Identify possible hazards associated with the patrol and surveillance duties of security officers that may present an unsafe working environment e.g. uneven walking surfaces, damaged steps, unguarded manhole, inadequate lighting, etc. Implement measures such as placing warning signs, erecting suitable barriers and carrying out quick rectifications once a hazardous condition is identified.
- Workplace Safety and Health Act
- Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
- Workplace Safety and Health (Work at Heights) Regulations 2013
- Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
- Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
- Code of Practice for Working Safely at Heights
- Singapore Standard SS508 series – Graphical symbols – Safety colours and safety signs
- Singapore Standard SS 531: 2008(2014) Code of Practice for Lighting of Work Places – Part 2: Outdoor
- Singapore Standard SS 531: 2008(2014) Code of Practice for Lighting of Work Places – Part 3: Lighting requirements for safety and security of outdoor work places
Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at
20 June 2019. 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.