Accident Advisory: Worker succumbed after fall in warehouse

Ref No.: 201218 (1)
UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

Accident Advisory: Worker succumbed after fall in warehouse

 
On 6 November 2018, at around 12pm, a worker was installing metal racks alone in a warehouse where he possibly fell off an A-frame ladder during the installation. He made his way home after the incident. At about 5pm, he felt unwell and was conveyed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on the same day.
                                       
                               Figure 1: Warehouse where the accident took place.

Recommendations

Persons in control of workplaces or conducting similar work activities, such as occupiers and employers, are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:
Safe use of ladders
Observe the following safety guidelines when using ladders:
• Select the right ladder for the work activity. The ladder should be high enough
to access the work area. Do not stand on the top rung of the ladder
(see Figure 2).
• Check the ground before placing the ladder. Ensure that the ladder is placed
on stable and level ground (see Figure 3).
                                        
                           Figure 2                                                            Figure 3
• Fully extend the ladder spreaders and lock them into place prior to using the
ladder.
• Do not carry any tools or materials when ascending or descending a ladder.
Place tools and materials in a tool belt or side pouch (see Figure 4).
• Maintain three points of contact (e.g. both hands and one foot, or both feet
and one hand) with the ladder at all times (see Figure 5).
                                         
                          Figure 4                                                           Figure 5
Use of work platforms
• As ladders serve primarily as means of access to work areas, they should only
be used for low-risk and short-duration tasks and never as work platforms.
For more complex tasks involving work at heights, consider alternative safe
means of access using work platforms such as step platforms (see Figure 6) or
vertical personnel platforms (see Figure 7).
                                          
              Figure 6: Step platform                                  Figure 7: Vertical personnel platform.
Work planning
• Identify safe and proper means of access to and egress from the work area.
• Include different stages of work for resource planning e.g. additional manpower
and/or tools may be required for rack assembly
or erection.
• Ensure adequate rest or regular breaks if work for long durations or involving
strenuous tasks.
Worker monitoring and well-being
• Implement a buddy system (or have a co-worker around) for any work that
may result in injury. This is so that emergency response (including first aid)
can be promptly activated in the event of an accident.
• Provide workers with sheltered and ventilated rest points with drinking water.
• Encourage workers to inform their supervisor if they are unwell, under medication
or experiencing severe fatigue.

Risk Assessment

Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all work activities to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise for work in warehouses. The RA should include, but not limited to the following areas:
• Regular ladder inspections to ensure that the ladder is fit-for-use.
• Use of proper footwear (e.g. non-slip shoes) when using a ladder.
• Correct positioning of the ladder to avoid awkward postures or loss of balance
which can result in a fall.
• Adequate workplace lighting to facilitate safe work within a warehouse.

Further Information

1. Workplace Safety and Health Act
2. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
3. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
4. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
5. Code of Practice on Working Safely at Heights
6. WSH Guidelines on Workplace Housekeeping
7. WSH Guidelines on Improving Ergonomics in the Workplace
8. WSH Guidelines on Fatigue Management
9. SS 176: 1996 Portable Aluminium Ladder
10. SS 531-1: 2006 (2013) Code of Practice for Lighting of Work Places – Indoor
11. SS 567 : 2011  Code of Practice for Factory Layout – Safety, Health and
Welfare Considerations
12. WSH Council’s Ladder Safety Pack
13. WSH Council’s Activity Based Checklist on Safe Use of Ladders
14. WSH Council’s Information for Workers on Safety and Health (iWSH Newsletter) –
Tips on Ladder Safety (Issue no: 111203)
15. MOM Circular: Managing Heat Stress in the Workplace (issued 15 Aug 2012)