29 Jul 2022
Opening Address by Mr Yam Ah Mee,
Chairman, Workplace Safety and Health Council (Construction and Landscape) Committee at
IPAF Asia Conference & Showcase 2022 –
The Powered Access Symposium on
Tuesday, 28 July 2022 at 11.10am
Mr Peter Douglas, CEO and Managing Director, International Powered Access Federation,
Industry leaders and fellow professionals,
Ladies and gentlemen.
1. Good morning, and my appreciation to the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) for inviting me to their annual Asia Conference & Showcase 2022. This event is an excellent platform to share with the industry the safe and effective use of powered access equipment. I hope everyone will be able to gain insights to safe work at height.
Falls from height performance
2. Singapore has been making significant progress in our workplace safety and health (WSH) performances over the years, with a decrease in workplace fatal injury rate by more than half from 4.9 per 100,000 workers in 2004 to 1.1 per 100,000 workers in 2021.
3. However, falls from height has consistently remained as one of the highest contributors to workplace fatalities. Since 2017, there were 8 fatal falls annually, with the exception of 2019 with 7 fatal falls. Sadly as of today, there have been 7 fatal falls out of the 31 workplace fatalities this year.
Safe use of MEWPs
4. Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) is one of the safer methods for working at height. Given their versatility and efficiency, MEWPs offer a comprehensive range of working-at-height solutions to suit different applications and environments. However they are complex pieces of equipment, and accidents may happen if used improperly, inadequate worker training or supervision, not following the manufacturer’s recommendations, or not fully assessing the hazards of the job, site and its requirement.
5. In November last year, a worker died when he attempted to ride a boom lift from the fourth storey of a building to the ground. He fell 27 metres while climbing over a barricade to get onto the boom lift platform. This could have been easily avoided if the worker had used the staircase located nearby.
6. Similarly, in February last year, a worker was found unconscious and slouched against the control panel of a boom lift. These tragic losses of lives show that operators must be trained in the proper use of MEWPs and be aware of the hazards involved.
WSH Council launches MEWP guide and pictogram
7. To ensure that licensed operators have the knowledge and skills required to operate MEWPs, the WSH Council has partnered industry stakeholders, including IPAF, to develop a Guide for Safe Use of MEWPs. Aimed at raising the WSH standards of MEWP operations, the Guide shares good practices in using MEWPs, highlights common hazards and risks involved, and the corresponding corrective actions to take while using these equipment.
8. In addition, the WSH Council has developed a pictogram poster on the 6 basic workplace safety and health rules for safe use of MEWPs. The poster can be easily placed at worksites as a reminder to operators before they commence work each day.
9. We hope these resources can further strengthen work-at-height processes and enhance the situational awareness of workers on and around MEWPs. You can download the Guide and poster from the WSH Council’s website.
10. I hope today’s event will provide us with valuable insights on the safe use of powered access equipment, and that the speakers will inspire us to better the WSH standards at our workplace.
11. Maintaining WSH is a continuous and on-going effort by all. Let us remain vigilant, keep an eye out for one another, and continue with safe work practices. Take time to take care of your safety and health at work.
12. I wish you all a fruitful “IPAF Powered Access Symposium”.