Worker succumbed after being hit by fallen forklift

15 Jul 2019

Ref No.: 150719 (1)

UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

Accident Advisory: Worker succumbed after being hit by fallen forklift

Ref: 1920016 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 3 June 2019

On 26 May 2019 around 5.40pm, a forklift operator lost control of the forklift, drove it through a barrier and went over the edge of a slipway. The forklift plunged into the slipway and struck a worker who was in it. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics while the forklift operator suffered injuries.


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

Competent forklift operator

  • Only trained, competent and authorised workers should be allowed to operate a forklift.
  • Check that all authorised forklift operators have passed the “Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification Operate Forklift Course” conducted by a training provider accredited by SkillsFuture Singapore and obtained a Statement of Attainment.
  • Ensure that forklift operators attend refresher training every 3 years. Additional in-house training with support from the forklift’s manufacturer or supplier is highly recommended.

Controlled access to forklift keys

  • To prevent unauthorised forklift operations, restrict access of forklift ignition keys only to authorised forklift operators. A system should be implemented for strict control and access to forklift keys.
  • Advise forklift operators never to leave the forklift keys in the ignition slot when the forklift is not in use.

Forklift pre-operation check

  • Prior to operating a forklift and as part of the safe work procedure, the forklift operator should carry out a pre-operation check/ inspection to ensure that the forklift to be used is in good working condition. Refer to the WSH Guidelines on Safe Operation of Forklift Trucks for a sample of the pre-operational checklist.
  • Advise forklift operators to immediately report to his/ her employer, manager, supervisor or WSH personnel should any defect or problem be detected during a forklift pre-operation check. The forklift should not be operated until the defect and/or problem detected has been rectified.

Forklift servicing and maintenance

  • Ensure forklifts are serviced and maintained by competent personnel. The servicing and maintenance intervals should be in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and statutory requirements

Traffic management plan

  • Establish and implement a workplace traffic management plan to ensure that forklifts and other vehicles are able to move around and be operated safely.
  • For operations next to an open edge, implement suitable control measures (e.g. install bollards, place kerbs) to reduce the risk of a vehicle falling off the open edge.

Work supervision

  • Deploy an on-site supervisor to monitor and supervise forklift operations to ensure that they are carried out safely.

Toolbox meetings

  • Conduct toolbox meetings to brief workers of possible on-site hazards and how they can protect themselves through safe work procedures and the other risk controls that are in place. Toolbox meetings are typically conducted prior to work commencement or before shift handover.


Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all work activities to manage any foreseeable risk associated with forklift operations. The RA should include, but is not limited to, the following areas:

  • Possibility of the forklift toppling due to heavy load or turning at high speed.
  • Possibility of the forklift or its attachments being unsuitable for the specific task at hand.
  • Possibility of the forklift being driven off an open edge and into water or onto lower ground.


  1. Workplace Safety and Health Act
  2. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
  3. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
  4. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
  5. Singapore Standard SS573: 2012 Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Powered Counterbalanced Forklifts
  6. WSH Guidelines on Safe Operation of Forklift Trucks
  7. WSH Guidelines on Workplace Traffic Safety Management
  8. WSH Council’s Forklift Safety Pack
  9. WSH Council’s Sample Checklist for Pre-Operation of Forklifts
  10. WSH Council’s Activity Based Checklist on Safe Use of Forklift Trucks
  11. WSH Council’s Guide to Effective Toolbox Meeting
  12. WSH Council’s Activity Based Checklist for Effective Toolbox Meetings

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 any liability on any party nor should it be taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and obligations under the law.