SINGAPORE – The construction industry accounted for the highest number of workplace deaths and major injuries in the first half of the year, with 10 deaths and 84 cases of major injuries.

This was out of 28 workers who died on the job from January to June, up from 23 in the same period last year. 

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has stepped up enforcement efforts in the industry, said MOM and the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council on Friday in releasing the half-year workplace safety statistics.

From January to mid-September, 63 stop-work orders were issued to worksites in the construction industry with unsafe conditions and practices that posed imminent danger to workers.

One such order was imposed on Wah Khiaw Developments on Aug 11. Multiple unsafe practices were found, such as workers working at heights without barricades or fall arrest systems.

The company was issued fines amounting to $15,000 for the breaches.

A stop-work order was also issued to construction company KG Plasterceil on Sept 6 for multiple unsafe scaffolds and unsafe work at heights. MOM is assessing the need for, and extent of, further penalties.

These companies have to engage external auditors to review their workplace safety and health management systems, and rectify the lapses before the authorities decide whether to lift the stop-work orders.

Workplace safety has been in the spotlight this year after a rise in the number of workplace deaths.

The death of a Grab delivery rider on Sept 1 brought the number of workplace fatalities this year to 37 – the same for the whole of last year.

The top causes of death in the first half of the year were falls from height and vehicular incidents, with seven cases each. 

Four deaths were due to collapse or failure of structures and equipment. Another four were caused by slips, trips and falls. 

Other than the construction industry, there were five deaths in the transportation and storage industry, four in manufacturing and four in marine.