Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Worker Fell from Mezzanine Floor - WSH Bulletin & WSH COuncil

26 May 2010


In this incident, a worker was found dead on the ground beside the staircase of a factory. He was alone in the premises when the incident happened. A stool was found at the mid landing of the staircase. It is suspected that the worker might have tried to access a resting area on the mezzanine floor by using the stool to climb over the handrail of the staircase. He could then have fallen from the open side of the unbarricaded mezzanine floor and landed on the ground 3m below.


1. Provide safe means of access or egress: The Workplace and Safety Health Act (WSHA) stipulates that the occupier has to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure that the workplace and all means of access to or egress from the workplace are safe. For this incident, there was no safe and proper access to the mezzanine floor, except by climbing over the staircase.

2. Conduct risk assessment: Proper risk assessments should be conducted to identify all potential hazards and risks. Appropriate actions must be taken to eliminate the hazards or to mitigate the risks. Some of the hazards relevant to this case include:
a. Lack of proper and safe means of access to the resting area;b. Lack of proper and safe means of access to the stored materials (e.g. the veneer and wooden planks) at the mezzanine floor beside the resting area;c. Lack of proper handhold and barricade at the mezzanine level; and d. Improper storage of materials which could lead to them toppling.

3. Provide and maintain safe arrangements and facilities: Employers are also required under the WSHA to take reasonably practicable measures to protect the safety and health of employees. This includes maintaining the facilities and providing safe arrangements to ensure their welfare at work. In this incident, such measures could include:
a. Ensuring that the workers’ resting areas are adequate, safe and without risk (e.g. properly barricaded); and b. Ensuring that workers are not exposed to hazards from the storage of materials beside the resting area.

4. Establish safe work procedures: Appropriate control measures and safe work procedures, such as on accessing and moving materials from the storage area, must be properly established, communicated and implemented to ensure the safety and health of the workers involved.

5. Proper storage of goods: All goods, articles and substances in a workplace should be properly stored, stack or placed:
a. in such as manner as not to obstruct the use of passageways;

b. on a firm foundation not liable to settle;

c. in such manner as not to overload the foundation or floors;

d. using appropriate supporting structures to ensure their stability; and

e. not against a wall or partition unless they are of sufficient strength to withstand the pressure.
Bound materials should also be placed on racks, and secured by stacking, blocking, or interlocking to prevent them from sliding, falling, or collapsing.

Further Information

1. Workplace Safety and Health Act (Chapter 354A)2. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations 3. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations 4. OSHA’s guide on Materials Handling and Storing, please click HERE.

* Please note that the information provided is intended to enhance workplace safety and health so that a similar recurrence may be prevented, and is not exhaustive. The information provided should not to be construed as implying any liability to any party nor should it be taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and obligations of the reader of WSH Alert under the law.

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