It’s a Risky Business
I’ve heard people say that construction is a risky business or that contracting in refineries is risky. I am sure most oil rig guys say these same things. But come to think about it, waking up every morning can be a risky thing too. Why? Well, you don’t really know how the world will turn out. You don’t know when an earthquake or tsunami will hit anywhere, anytime near you.
Yes, it is true that working in construction, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, marine industries are dangerous and even though people try to put measures in place- near misses, incidents, accidents and even fatalities still occur. Anywhere in the world there are reports of injuries, accidents and fatalities resulting from work from these industries.
So what do we do? What can we do?
Clients, developers, main contractors, EPCMs (Engineering Procurement Construction Management), EPCs, contractors and the like spend millions of dollars engaging safety professionals, safety consultants and safety experts to manage their safety.
In the past, it has always been a numbers game. We have visited factories, worksites, refineries, plants, vessels that openly state that they worked 10 Million man-hours safely. Yet there were 3 fatalities just the month or two before. Its always been about numbers. How can management sweep things under the rug and yet turn to the workers to tell them to work safely?
At times there is fear among contractors and managers as well as safety practitioners not to report issues or even when an incident occurs- cleverly manipulate the loop holes to ensure that statistics are not affected.
At Safety@Work, we have been doing things different. Our concept and our programs aim to change all that is happening in the industry. We influence people into thinking and believing that when they see something, they own it and they fix it. You See It, You Own It, You Fix It. We create a culture and an environment that has a shared sense of responsibility. Its not just the safety persons job, it’s the managers job and the workers job to be responsible and care for themselves and each other.
Our approach has never been about numbers. Our approach is not about penalizing people nor is it about glamorizing numbers and statistics.
Our approach is simple. It’s about changing the mindsets and touching the hearts of people. Getting them from needing to do certain things to wanting them to do things. Getting them from needing to think about working safely (at times only when there are people present) to WANTING to do things right.
To get people to change, they must want to. They must put in the commitment to make things change and to make change last. Our approach allows people to decide what they want to do and then we help them achieve those goals.
This approach is not a one size fits all. We have to consult with the key stake holders to understand their concerns. Then we will start the process of merely complying to requirements to wanting to do things right. We get people to move from being told to work safely to one where there is genuine concern for safety and health. We get them to be proud of a workplace that everyone is concerned and thus leading to them doing things right.
We are normally called in by word of mouth; it is normally the CEOs, the Managing Directors and owners who are faced with insurmountable challenges that normally seek help from Safety@Work.
We have proven time and again that nothing is impossible. We have proven that change can happen and that we are the agents of change.
Contributed by : Mr Raj Singh
Within the two weeks of 30 April 2011 to 11 May 2011, 7 workers died after falling from height in 7 separate incidents. Out of these seven deaths, three were from the construction industry.
Employers and employees do not want this to happen and Safety@Work is extremely concerned about this issue and the lives lost from working at heights. There is a need for people (employers and employees) to take a step back and relook the work that they are about to do. They should analyse and assess the risks and put in measures to safe guard peoples lives. From developing and implementing Fall Protection Plans to training. Employers and Employees could refer to the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) for Working Safely at Height which is available for download at www.wshc.sg.
The Workplace Safety Health Council has also put out an advisory and a message to all. This is explained below.
“The WSH Council is deeply concerned with this recent spate of accidents and would like to urge all employers undertaking work at heights (WAH) to take immediate actions to protect workers. At the same time, the Ministry of Manpower will step up checks on more workplaces and their safety measures as part of its WAH enforcement efforts.
Workers working at heights must be protected at all times. They should not be left to use their own discretion to devise ways to protect themselves. This is the responsibility of the employers. Some of the key measures that employers should adopt while working at heights can be found in Annex A .
Employers are strongly urged to do a risk assessment of the work environment and work methods whenever they put a worker up to work at height. They must also provide adequate supervision to ensure that control measures and safe work procedures are properly implemented on site. Working at height risks can be effectively and systematically mitigated if employers develop a robust Fall Protection Plan (FPP). More information on FPP can be found in the Approved Code of Practice for Working Safely at Height .”
Quoted from Workplace Safety Health Council
The NWSH (National Workplace Safety and Health) Campaign just kicked off in June, with the theme being “Say No to risk’s at work”. Unfortunately, there are still tragic accidents happening, that perhaps could have been prevented. As mentioned in the article below. Safety is an issue that has to be placed priority no matter where your workplace is. Nevertheless, deepest condolences to the family and friends of the casualty.
From: AAP , May 08, 2011 12:30AM
The civilian sub-contractor fell off the auxiliary oiler replenishment class vessel about 5pm (AEST) on Friday, the Department of Defence said in a press release.
Success is docked in Singapore while it undergoes a double-hull conversion, a Defence spokesman said.
The man was working on one of the ship’s sea boats when he fell 13m into the water.
Three navy sailors entered the water and brought the unconscious man to the surface.
A navy medic provided first aid before an ambulance transferred him to a local hospital where he later died. The man was a contractor working for the Australian-based company Defence Maritime Services.
All rights belongs to: APP
Another incident which left 2 workers dead.
Explosion at Benoi Road shipyard kills two
By Lynda Hong
SINGAPORE: There has been an explosion at a shipyard in 3 Benoi Road, resulting in the death of at least two people.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that the incident involved a barge undergoing maintenance work at the shipyard. A SCDF spokesman said the two were pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.
The Manpower Ministry has identified the two as a 43-year-old Malaysian and a 20-year-old Bangladeshi.
They were working on the barge when the blast occurred at around 1.20pm, after the workers had just returned from their lunch break. There were also some workers at the shipyard who suffered minor injuries due to the blast, but no one was hospitalised.
The deceased Bangladeshi is Hassan Mainul. His uncle said Hassan came to Singapore just three months ago.
He said: “That time when they called, I cannot believe myself. How come? Only last Sunday, I saw him. He is a very innocent boy, innocent face and he is very handsome, very handsome boy. He finished intermediate and higher secondary, I brought him here for a job, to [have a better life]. Now he is gone. I really cannot believe it.”
The Manpower Ministry has ordered a stop to all work at the incident site, which is occupied by Haosen Marine Pte Ltd. Preliminary investigations by the ministry showed that the two workers were assigned to conduct checks for leaks on one of the barge’s tank compartments.
Both the SCDF and police said they received a call about the incident at about 1.30pm. SCDF dispatched two fire engines, two fire bikes, one ambulance and two other support vehicles to the scene.
The intensity of the blast also affected buildings nearby. A witness Channel NewsAsia spoke to said the explosion broke some glass panels in her office across the road.
It also caused a ceiling panel to collapse but no one was injured.
The witness, who wanted to be known as Mandy, added that the ground shook when the explosion occurred.
Another eye witness, 34-year-old Adrian Lee who was in the area for a meeting about four factories away from the explosion site, said he saw people running out after the blast caused a roof to collapse.
He said: “I was at a neighbouring unit at number 3 Benoi Road when I heard a loud explosion. Went out, I saw the roof collapse, people running out. Minutes later fire engines came, that was the sequence.”
Another eyewitness, Eugene Chua, said: “At 1.20pm today, we heard a very loud explosion. So the rest of us in the company evacuated because there was a lot of ceiling coming down. And we had to leave our office. It felt like an earthquake. It was very tremendous. Our instincts took over and we had to get out of the office.”
There was a twisted pile of metal within the premises and a writ of possession/eviction was pasted on the gate of 3 Benoi Road.
It states that the occupiers of the building have to vacate the premises by 9.30am on May 16.
THE family of an airport worker who died suddenly from a heart condition at the age of 21 will receive $140,000 in compensation after the High Court ruled that his death was work-related.
Mr Wang Zengming, a Chinese national whose parents are farmers from Shandong province, collapsed after carrying heavy food and drink containers that were to be loaded onto a plane at Changi Airport.
His family was awarded the compensation by the Commissioner for Labour last October.
But his employers and their insurers appealed against the payout, arguing that Mr Wang’s death was not work-related.
On Monday, Justice Lai Siu Chiu threw out the appeal, saying in a written judgment that the death was linked to carrying the heavy loads.
She said the decision to challenge the payout had served only to prolong the parents’ grief at losing their son, which could have been especially painful given that China allows many families to have only one child.
‘No amount of compensation, let alone the award, would have consoled (the parents) in their irreplaceable loss if the deceased had been their only child,’ said Justice Lai.
Mr Wang had been working as a cabin service assistant for Singapore Airport Terminal Services since July 2007. His job was to deliver food and drinks from the catering building to airplanes.
On the day he died in April 2009, he and a colleague made deliveries to three planes. On the third delivery, they loaded between three and four containers and from eight to 10 oven racks onto trolleys. Each container and oven rack weighed up to 25kg.
The items were then loaded onto a nearby delivery truck, and the workers followed the truck to the plane so they could help unload it. Mr Wang then went to a resting area, where he vomited and collapsed. He died in hospital about an hour later.
It later emerged that he was unknowingly suffering from a heart condition, which caused an irregular heartbeat.
Associate Professor Gilbert Lau from the Health Sciences Authority testified at a previous hearing that the physical strain of Mr Wang’s work caused him to suffer the cardiac arrest.
The insurers – Allianz Insurance, and Singapore Aviation and General Insurance – brought in a private-practice cardiologist, Dr Baldev Singh, who testified that it was more likely the Chinese national had suffered from an unexplained random attack of ‘sudden death syndrome’.
He said this was based on the length of time that the dead man had spent resting after the third delivery, and the non-strenuous nature of his job.
But Justice Lai said in her judgment that the cardiac arrest occurred while Mr Wang was at work. This meant the incident happened in the course of employment, and the insurers had failed to disprove this.
She said the evidence of Prof Lau and Mr Wang’s co-worker Lee Keok Chuan was more convincing, as ‘Lee… had personal experience of the nature of the deceased’s duties and because Prof Lau appeared to be the more reliable witness’.
Justice Lai added that the Commissioner for Labour had been right to discount the ‘armchair evidence’ of supervisors who said Mr Wang’s work was not strenuous and Dr Singh’s opinion that his heart condition was generally benign.
The dead man’s family was represented by lawyer Shanker Kumar, while the insurers’ lawyer was Mr Niru Pillai.
Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.
Florida theme park worker succumbs to injuries
A 52-year old Floridian worker died yesterday, succumbing to head injuries he received while working on the Primeval Whirl ride at the Animal Kingdom theme park. The ride was temporarily closed for maintenance at the time, it is speculated that he may have been struck by a moving vehicle.
Company fined over unstable crane accident
A company was fined $22,000 over an accident in which a crane collapsed over a footpath and highway. No injuries occurred but the company pleaded guilty to a failure to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the crane operated safely.
Steel purlins were being unloaded with the boom fully extended when the instability occurred.
The crane was sited on unstable sandy ground when a stabilising leg and support failed.
The judge found that the crane operator had not been formally trained in the machine’s operation.
Floor collapse kills forklift driver
A forklift operator died yesterday when a floor collapsed. He was working on the ground floor loading material with his vehicle when the floor collapsed 5 metres into the basement, with barrels of vegetable oil and rubble falling on him.
Worker’s fingers severed in saw accident
A worker was admitted to hospital following an accident.
Chittagong shipbreaker killed
An ARL Shipbreaking Yard worker died yesterday in Chittagong Medical College Hospital from injuries sustained in an accident during the dismantling of a section of scrap ship. A heavy steel section had fallen on him.