Sunday, September 2, 2012

WSH Alert – 2 Workers Fell to their Deaths

8 Sep 2010
On 6 Sep 2010 at about 1700hrs, two workers fell about 9 storeys from a building while working from the inside of a customised building maintenance gondola. Preliminary investigations revealed that the two men had fallen together with the gondola. They were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
1. Conduct risk assessment: Proper risk assessment must be carried out by experienced and knowledgeable persons before starting any work. Through the risk assessment, employers and workers can identify 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. In this case, the general condition of the gondola, including the rail and trolley wheels, should be inspected before work is carried out. IN the event of any anomaly while operating the gondola, all work should cease immediately and proper recovery actions should be effected.
2. Establish workplace safety and health management programme: Employers should establish and implement a safety management system with proper control measures and the appropriate safe work procedures. This includes an effective fall protection plan for any works that may subject workers to the risk of falling from height. The safety and health programme must be clearly communicated to all levels of personnel, such as through refresher courses or daily toolbox meetings.

3. Implement fall prevention / protection / arrest system: Works that are carried out at height must be made safe through proper fall prevention or protection measures. This includes ensuring safe access and egress, and barricading or guarding all work areas to prevent falls. Fall arrest, travel restraint and engineered systems with appropriate anchorage points should also be provided:
  • Travel restraint: A travel restraint system prevents the worker from falling by restricting his movement into hazardous areas, such as open sides. The restraint belt or full body harness must be anchored securely.
  • Fall Arrest: An individual fall arrest system protects the worker by stopping his fall so that he does not strike the ground. The full body harness with a self-retracting lifeline or a shock absorber and a lanyard must be anchored securely.
  • Engineered Systems: Engineered systems such as horizontal lifelines should be installed according to the design by a professional engineer. Deviating from the design can result in the system not functioning as it should and can be unsafe.
4. Ensure proper supervision: Employers should ensure that workers adhere to the established safe work procedures, e.g. by ensuring that workers follow the fall protection plan when working at height and disciplining workers who exhibit unsafe acts and do not comply with the safe work procedures.
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, please click
4. Workplace Safety and Health (Construction) Regulations, please click
5. Code of Practice for Working Safely at Height, please click
6. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 1: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems - Full-body harnesses
7. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 2: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems - Lanyards and energy absorbers
8. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 3: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems - Self-retracting lifelines
9. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 5: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems - Connectors with self-closing and self-locking gates
* 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.
Courtesy from WSHC. Please visit for more information.