Singapore's Workplace Safety Milestone: Record Low Fatal and Major Injury Rates in 2023

ManagementMay 24, 2024 09:00

Singapore has achieved a remarkable milestone in workplace safety, reaching the lowest fatal and major injury rates in a decade. According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the workplace fatal injury rate dropped to 0.99 per 100,000 workers in 2023, a significant decrease from 1.3 in 2022. This is the first time, excluding the pandemic year of 2020, that the fatal injury rate has fallen below one per 100,000 workers, meeting the ambitious Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) 2028 target five years ahead of schedule.

Key Statistics and Achievements

1. Record Low Fatal Injury Rate: The fatal injury rate decreased to 0.99 per 100,000 workers in 2023, marking a significant improvement from 1.3 in 2022. This achievement places Singapore among a select group of OECD countries, including the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany, that consistently maintain a fatal injury rate below one per 100,000 workers.

2. Decline in Major Injuries: The major injury rate also saw a decline, falling to 16.1 per 100,000 workers from 17.3 in 2022. This rate is the lowest recorded in Singapore in the past decade.

3. Industry-Specific Improvements: The construction, transportation, and storage sectors, traditionally high-risk industries, showed notable improvements in both fatal and major injury rates. The construction sector, despite seeing an increase in fatalities, recorded a drop in major injuries from 157 in 2022 to 149 in 2023. The transportation and storage sector also saw reductions in both fatalities and major injuries.

Efforts and Initiatives

The significant progress in workplace safety is attributed to the collective efforts of the Multi-Agency Workplace Safety and Health Taskforce (MAST) and various stakeholders, including businesses, industry associations, unions, workers, and government agencies. The following initiatives have been crucial in achieving these results:

Heightened Safety Period

From September 2022 to May 2023, a Heightened Safety Period was imposed, during which enhanced safety measures were introduced. This period saw intensified inspections and increased resources for small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their safety processes.

Demerit Point System

In response to the rise in incidents within the manufacturing sector, particularly involving machinery and falling objects, MAST introduced a Demerit Point System. This system penalises companies with poor safety records by restricting their ability to hire foreign workers. Since its implementation, 759 companies have received demerit points, and four have been temporarily banned from hiring foreign workers.

Focus on High-Risk Sectors

Specific measures have been targeted at high-risk sectors. For instance, the construction sector saw the highest number of fatalities, including a notable incident where a worker was killed during demolition works. To address such risks, stricter safety protocols and regular inspections have been enforced.

Enhanced Reporting and Surveillance

Efforts to improve workplace health surveillance have led to a rise in reported occupational diseases, from 29.7 per 100,000 workers in 2022 to 33.6 in 2023. This increase is due to better reporting mechanisms and heightened awareness among employers and doctors.

Challenges and Future Goals

Despite these achievements, challenges remain, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Although the number of fatalities in this sector dropped from seven in 2022 to five in 2023, the rate of major injuries increased from 122 to 150. Incidents involving machinery and falls from height continue to be significant concerns.

Sustaining Low Rates

Maintaining the low fatality and major injury rates is now the primary goal. MOM emphasises the need for continued vigilance and commitment from all stakeholders. Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad highlighted the importance of sustaining these achievements and focusing on long-term issues such as occupational diseases.

Building a Safety Culture

Encouraging a proactive safety culture where workers feel safe to report concerns is crucial. Simplified reporting processes and increased worker engagement are steps in this direction. The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has been instrumental in promoting this culture, ensuring that safety remains a top priority across all sectors.


Singapore's achievement in reducing workplace fatalities and major injuries to record lows is a testament to the effectiveness of collaborative efforts and stringent safety measures. As the nation continues to strive for excellence in workplace safety, the focus will remain on sustaining these improvements and addressing ongoing challenges. The journey towards a safer workplace is continuous, and with collective effort, Singapore can set new benchmarks in workplace safety and health.


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