Sunday, September 2, 2012

WSH Alert – Worker Fell while Plastering Wall at the Ledge of Balcony

28 Sep 2010
In this incident, a worker was found dead on the ground floor of a construction site. Preliminary investigations revealed that the worker was carrying out plastering works at the balcony area within a unit on the 17th storey. The worker was found without any fall protection equipment and it was suspected that the worker fell from the edge of the balcony and landed on the ground. The guardrails that were installed were dislodged at one end.

Figure 1: Worker fell from the 17th storey balcony while carrying out plastering work
A similar incident had occurred earlier this year. A worker carrying out plastering work on the external wall of an air conditioning ledge fell to his death from the 9th floor of a building.
1. Conduct risk Assessment: A 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 hazard 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 these cases, one of the key control measures would be to prevent workers from falling while working at height.
2. Establish workplace safety and health management programme and safe work procedures: Employers should establish and implement a safety and health management system with proper control measures and the appropriate safe work procedures. This includes an effective fall protection plan (FPP) for any work that may subject workers to the risk of falling from height. The fall protection plan must be clearly communicated to all levels of personnel, such as through refresher courses or daily toolbox meetings. It is also crucial to ensure that the safe work procedures are adhered to by all sub-contractors to better manage the safety and health of all workers at the workplace.
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 a worker from falling by restricting his body movement into hazardous areas, such as open sides. For such a system, a restraint belt or full body harness is suitable once anchored securely.
  • Fall Arrest: An individual fall arrest system protects the worker by stopping his fall sp 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 no functioning as it rightfully should and can result in potentially unsafe conditions for workers.
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 perform 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 here
4. Workplace Safety and Health (Construction) Regulations, please click here
5. Code of Practice for Working Safely at Height, please click here
6. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 1: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems – Full-body harnesses
7. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 1: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems – Lanyards and energy absorbers
8. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 1: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems – Self-retracting lifelines
9. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 1: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems – Connectors with self-closing and self-locking gates
Courtesy from WSHC. Please visit for more information.


  1. thanks for sharing.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. A plasterer is a tradesman who works with plaster, such as forming a layer of plaster on an interior wall or plaster decorative moldings on ceilings or walls. Very impressive post! I love these updates! Thanks for sharing wonderful info!
    Plasterers Merseyside


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