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The Straits Times
January 19, 2023
A worker who was painting the facade of a condominium block in Bedok was wearing a body harness that was not anchored when he fell four storeys from a ledge and died.
Following his death, the first workplace fatality in 2023, the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council on Thursday called on all companies involved in painting or cleaning facades to urgently assess their safety measures to prevent falls from height.
On Jan 12, the 37-year-old worker from Myanmar was on a gondola with another worker as they painted the exterior of Waterfront Isle condominium. But both men climbed out of the gondola to paint parts of the wall that were out of reach.
The worker who died stepped out on the third floor, climbed over the parapet and used the stairs to get to the fourth floor where he climbed onto an open ledge, the WSH Council said.
He fell while working on the ledge and landed in the basement.
The worker, who was employed by ISOTeam C&P, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The WSH Council said as part of safety measures, companies should instruct workers never to climb in or out of a gondola unless it is at rest, on the ground, or at a level that allows safe entry or exit.
While in the gondola, each worker must have on a safety harness secured to an independent vertical lifeline.
Companies should also confirm with the building occupier or principal that the ledges are load bearing and able to support the weight of workers and their equipment.
They should check for fragile surfaces and openings on the ledge, and install temporary edge protection at all open sides. Where this is not possible, companies should implement a fall prevention plan and ensure workers seek permission for all work at heights where they can fall more than 3m.
Companies can also provide anchor points or lifelines to which fall arrest equipment or travel restraints can be secured.
Other measures include employing workers who have received adequate WSH training for working at a height as well as checks by management corporation strata titles of residential and commercial properties that contractors are implementing safety measures.
Falling from a height was one of the top causes of workplace deaths in 2022. The year saw 46 workplace fatalities, the highest recorded since 2016 when 66 people died.