Accident Advisory: Worker fell with work platform

30 Dec 2019

Ref No.: 301219 (1)

UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

Accident Advisory: Worker fell with work platform

Ref: 1920067 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 22 November 2019

On 21 November 2019 around 2:20pm, a shipyard worker was on a lifting platform preparing to paint the hull of a marine vessel. As the work platform of the lifting platform was being raised to position, its lifting arm suddenly failed, causing the work platform and the worker to fall to the ground. The worker was conveyed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.


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

Preventive Maintenance

  • Establish and implement a preventive maintenance regime for all lifting machines in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Ensure that preventive maintenance on all machinery is carried out as planned.
  • Ensure that preventive maintenance is carried out by trained and competent personnel. Preventive maintenance includes ensuring that equipment parts are in good working condition, and working parts of the machines kept clean and free of contamination so that equipment remains reliable.

Statutory Requirements

  • Ensure that all lifting machines are inspected by an Authorised Examiner (AE) in accordance to statutory requirements. In the case of a lifting platform (for lifting personnel), the platform must be inspected by an AE at least once every six months.

Pre-use Inspection

  • Develop a checklist for pre-use inspection of lifting machines.
  • Empower workers not to operate the lifting machine once any equipment abnormality (e.g. equipment fault, excessive noise or vibration) is detected.
  • Ensure that a pre-use inspection is carried out prior to operating the lifting machine.
  • Provide adequate supervision during the pre-use inspection to ensure that the inspection is carried out properly.

Operator Training

  • Ensure that operators of lifting machines are adequately trained in the safe use of the specific make and model of the lifting equipment. Only authorised and competent operators are to operate the lifting machine.
  • Advice for Operators:
    • Familiarise yourself with the safety features of the lifting machine and its safety devices. Never override any of the safety devices.
    • Always work within the safe working load of the lifting machine. Factors to consider when calculating the combined weight of the load include the weight of the worker(s), and the tools and materials being used for the task.
    • Maintain a line of sight with the worker on the platform throughout the operation.
    • Do not operate the lifting machine during adverse weather conditions (e.g. heavy rain, strong winds).

Emergency Response Plan

  • Establish an emergency response plan to deal with any accident, near-miss incident or dangerous occurrence that may occur during the use of the lifting machine.
  • Ensure all workers are familiar with the procedures and their respective roles in the emergency response plan.

Risk Assessment

Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) to identify and control any foreseeable risk associated with the use of lifting machines. The RA should cover, but is not limited to, the following areas:

  • Age of the lifting machine and the replacement plan for aging equipment parts.
  • Presence of on-site obstacles that may impede the lifting machine operation.
  • Impact of operating environment (e.g. sea water, rain) on equipment reliability.
  • Operator competency for the specific make and model of the lifting machine.

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 (Shipbuilding and Ship-Repairing) Regulations 2008
  5. Workplace Safety and Health (Work at Heights) Regulations 2013
  6. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
  7. Code of Practice for Working Safely at Heights
  8. Singapore Standard SS 616: Code of Practice for Safe Use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms
  9. Ministry of Manpower’s Circular – Inspection Requirements for Statutory
    Lifting Equipment
  10. Occupational Safety & Health Administration – OSHA Quick Card: Aerial Lifts – Protect Yourself
  11. UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) – The Selection, Management and Use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms

Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at13 December 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 any liability on any party nor should it be taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and obligations under the law.