Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Worker Fell while Plastering External Wall of Air Conditioning Ledge - WSH Bulletin & WSH Council

18 May 2010


In this incident, a worker was found dead on the ground beside a high rise building under construction. The worker was found with a restraint belt strapped around his waist.

Before the incident, the worker was carrying out plastering work on the external wall of an air conditioning ledge on the 9th floor of the building. At the other floors, the open sides of the air conditioning ledges were guarded with cable barricades. However on the 9th floor, where the deceased worker was working, no barricade was present.


1. Conduct risk assessment: A risk assessment must be carried out before starting any work. Through the risk assessment, employers and workers can identify potential hazards and take appropriate actions to eliminate the hazards or reduce the risks involved. Control measures and safe work procedures must be established, communicated and implemented to ensure the safety and health of the workers involved. For this case, the relevant control measures include planning for safe access to the work area and preventing workers from falling while working on the air conditioning ledge.

2. Implement workplace safety and health management programme: Management must put in place an effective workplace safety and health management programme. Through this, operations within the organisation would be guided through a safety policy, establishment of a safety management system and proper work procedures. Effective implementation of established WSH procedures and systems can be done with proper supervision, effective communication and training to ensure that workers adhere to established procedures.

3. Fall prevention / protection: Work at height must be made safe through fall prevention or protection measures. Examples include installing guard rails that prevent persons from falling over open sides, as well as travel restraint, fall arrest or engineered systems with anchorage points as explained below:

Travel restraint: A travel restraint system prevents the worker from falling by restricting his movement into hazardous areas, such as open sides. For such a system, a restraint belt or a full body harness is suitable once anchored securely.

Fall Arrest: An individual fall arrest system protects the worker by stopping his fall so that he does not strike the ground. A full body harness with a self-retracting lifeline or a shock absorber and a lanyard are suitable for fall arrest once anchored securely.

Engineered Systems: Engineered systems such as horizontal lifelines should be installed according to the design by the professional engineer. Deviating from the design can result in the system not functioning as it rightfully should and can result in potentially unsafe conditions for workers.

Further Information

1. Workplace Safety and Health Act (Chapter 354A), please click here

2. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations, please click here

3. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations

4. Workplace Safety and Health (Construction) Regulations

5. Code of Practice for Working Safely at Height

* Please note that the information provided is not exhaustive and for the benefit of enhancing workplace safety and health so that a similar recurrence may be prevented. The information provided is 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.

Please visit https://www.wshc.sg/wps/portal/bulletinview?action=viewBulletin&bulletinID=BU2010051814948 for more details