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Workplace Safety & Health

Published in July 2009 by the Workplace Safety


and Health Council in collaboration with the
Ministry of Manpower and the National Trades
Union Congress.

This guideline is co-developed by the tripartite


Guidelines
Workgroup for Cleaning and Custodial Services.
All rights reserved. This publication may not be Cleaning and Custodial Services

Workplace Safety & Health Guidelines Cleaning and Custodial Services


reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, in whole or in part, without prior written
permission. The information provided in this
publication is accurate as at time of printing. All
cases shared in this publication are meant for
learning purposes only. The learning points for
each case are not exhaustive and should not be
taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and
obligations of the user of this publication under
the law. The Workplace Safety and Health Council
does not accept any liability or responsibility to any
party for losses or damage arising from following
this publication.

In collaboration with
Contents

1. Preface 1

2. Duties under the Workplace Safety and Health Act 2

3. Risk Assessment 4

4. Hazards in Cleaning and Custodial Services 7

5. Workplace Safety and Health Management Programme 32

6. Useful References 44

7. Acknowledgments 46

8. Annexes 48
1. Preface

Scope
This guideline serves as a workplace safety and health resource for workers, supervisors and
key stakeholders who provide or manage cleaning and custodial services in housing estates.
It provides safety and health information, guidance on the identification of work hazards and
the preventive measures that can be taken. For the handling of hazards specific to other work
environment / industries, readers should refer to other relevant technical advisories, guidelines
or materials where available.

Introduction
The cleaning and custodial services industry plays a very important role in creating clean,
comfortable and hygienic living spaces for the community. Everyday, workers carry out work
activities such as sweeping, mopping, washing, rubbish collection and disposal, cleaning of
general areas, waste collection, disposal of old furniture, etc.

In the course of their work, they are exposed to many occupational hazards such as
chemicals, loud noise, high temperatures, sharp objects, slippery floors and awkward work
postures. Potential accidents include falls from height; slips, trips and falls; crush injuries; cuts;
electrocution; burns, etc. Such accidents may affect both the cleaners as well as members of
public, with the potential of resulting in the loss of life and property.

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2. Duties under the Workplace Safety
and Health Act

The Workplace Safety and Health Act


The Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSH Act) is targeted at cultivating good safety habits
and practices in all individuals at the workplace from top management to the last worker.
It requires every person at the workplace to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure the
safety and health of every worker at the workplace.

A workplace includes any premises where people carry out work. In general, persons who have
duties and responsibilities under the WSH Act are listed below:

Duties of Employers or Principals


It is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety and
health of his employees or workers working under his direct control and all who may be
affected by their work. This includes:
Conducting risk assessments to remove or control risks to workers at the workplace;
Maintaining safe work facilities and arrangements for the workers at work;
Ensuring safety in machinery, equipment, plant, articles, substances and work processes at
the workplace;
Developing and putting into practice control measures for dealing with emergencies;
Providing workers with adequate instruction, information, training and supervision.

Duties of the Occupier


It is the duty of every occupier of any workplace to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable,
the following are safe and without risks to the health of every person within those premises,
whether or not the person is at work or is an employee of the occupier:
The workplace;
All entrances to or exits from the workplace; and
Any machinery, equipment, plant, article or substance kept on the workplace.

The occupier is responsible for the common areas used by employees and contractors. In
particular, the following items:
Hoists and lifts, lifting gear, lifting appliances and lifting machines located in the common
area;
Means of entry to or exit from the common area; and
Any machinery or plant located in the common area.

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Duties of the Manufacturer or Supplier
It is the duty of the manufacturer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that any
machinery, equipment or substances provided are safe for use:
Provide proper information on the safe use of the machinery, equipment or hazardous
substances;
Ensure that the machinery, equipment or hazardous substance is safe for use;
Ensure that the machinery, equipment or hazardous substance has been tested and
examined so that it is safe for use.

Duties of an Installer or Erector of Machinery


It shall be the duty of the installer or erector of machinery to ensure, so far as is reasonably
practicable, the machinery or equipment erected, installed or modified is safe and without
health risks when properly used.

Duties of an Employee
It is the duty of every person at work:
To adhere to safe working procedures and principles introduced at the workplace.
To cooperate with the employer or principal to comply with the WSH Act and not endanger
oneself or others through unsafe behaviour such as tampering with safety devices or
undertake any wilful or reckless acts and use of required personal protective equipments.

Duties of the Self-employed Person


It is the duty of the self-employed person to take measures, so far as is reasonably practicable,
to ensure the safety and health of others such as members of the public or his own employees.

Penalties
The WSH Act states a general maximum penalty for offences. An individual first-time offender
can face a maximum fine of up to $200,000 or a jail term of two years or both. A corporate body
that is a first-time offender can face a maximum fine of up to $500,000. For more information
of the penalties of offences, refer to Annex A.

Everyone has an obligation to ensure workplace safety. Getting every worker home safely at
the end of the day does not only depend on the effort of one individual, but is the result of all
stakeholders working together.

For more information on the Workplace Safety and Health Act, refer to the Ministry of
Manpower, website at www.mom.gov.sg.

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3. Risk Assessment

Risk assessments should be conducted by a team of persons who have a thorough knowledge
of the work that is planned to be carried out. Team members should include management staff,
process or facility engineers, technical personnel, supervisors, workers and safety personnel if
available.

The team leader should have undergone training in risk assessment. Alternatively, a safety
consultant trained in job safety analysis and risk management and who has experience in risk
assessment can be engaged to assist in the conduct of the risk assessment. The risk assessment
team should also include contractor/supplier personnel who are involved with the work,
whenever necessary.
1. Carry out risk assessment before starting work, to identify hazards associated with the
work.
2. Assess risks based on:
The likelihood of accidents occurring as a result of hazards; and
The severity of the consequences, should the accident occur.
3. Take appropriate risk control measures to eliminate the hazards or reduce the risk, following
the hierarchy of control.
4. Review risk assessments periodically.
5. Communicating these risks to all persons involved.

Communication
1 2 3 4 5 6
Preparation Hazard Risk Risk Control Record Implementation
Identification Evaluation Keeping and Review
> Form RA Team > Identify hazards > Estimate risk > Formulate control > Keep risk > Review risk
levels based measures according assessment assessments:
> Gather relevant > Identify
on identified to the Hierarchy of reports for at Once every 3
information potential
hazards Controls: least 3 years years;
accidents
incidents > Prioritise the Elimination Whenever new
hazards to be information
Substitution
controlled on WSH risks
Engineering surfaces;
controls
When there are
Administrative changes to work
controls processes and /
Personal protective or;
equipment After any
> Analyse and evaluate accident /
Risk Assessment (RA)
residual risk incident

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It is essential for risks to be eliminated or reduced at source. If a risk cannot be controlled
completely by engineering measures, it is necessary to protect the employees by administrative
control or personal protection.

The control of hazards and reduction of risks can be accomplished by following the Hierarchy
of Control Measures below. These control measures are not usually mutually exclusive e.g.
engineering controls can be implemented together with administrative controls like training
and safe work procedures.

ELIMINATION

SUBSTITUTION
Safe
Design
ENGINEERING CONTROLS

ADMINISTRATIVE

PERSONAL
PROTECTION Safe
EQUIPMENT Worker
Safe
(PPE) Worker

Elimination
Elimination of hazards refers to the total removal of the hazards and hence effectively making
all the identified possible accidents and ill health impossible.

This is a permanent solution and should be attempted in the first instance. If the hazard is
removed, all the other management controls, such as workplace monitoring and surveillance,
training, safety auditing, and record keeping will no longer be required.
Example : Eliminate the use of highly toxic cleaning chemicals.

Substitution
This involves replacing the hazard by one that presents a lower risk.
Examples: A water-based paint can be used instead of a solvent-based paint. Cooking oil can
be used to remove paint stains on skin instead of thinner.

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Engineering Controls
Engineering controls are physical means that limit the hazard. These include structural changes
to the work environment or work processes.
Example: Use powered spray gun for cleaning of floor.

Administrative Controls
These reduce or eliminate exposure to a hazard by adherence to procedures or instructions.
Documentation should emphasise all the steps to be taken and the controls to be used in
carrying out the activity safely.
Example: Implementation of permit-to-work systems; scheduling of incompatible works; WSH
training; reduced work hours.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


This should be used only as a last resort, after all other control measures have been considered,
or as a short term contingency during maintenance/repair or as an additional protective
measure.

The success of this control is dependent on the type of protective equipment chosen, correct
usage by employees, correct fit and usage at all times when required.

The employer must also ensure that the employees are properly trained on the handling and
usage of PPE. He must also ensure that all PPE are properly maintained and fitted for use at
all times.

Work with the PPE suppliers, to select the correct type of PPE and to train employees on correct
usage and maintenance of the PPE.

For more information on risk assessment, please refer to the Guidelines on Risk
Assessment available on the MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg.

For a sample of risk assessment for some common activities like sweeping, mopping, etc., please refer to Annex B.

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4. Hazards in Cleaning and Custodial
Services

Workers involved in cleaning and custodial services are exposed to a variety of hazards
everyday. These hazards can cause immediate injuries or lead to chronic and painful conditions,
requiring long-term treatment, incurring huge medical expenses. In some unfortunate cases,
death may result.

Some of the common hazards that workers are exposed to include:


- Hazardous chemicals: detergents, cement removing solutions, bleach;
- Slippery surfaces: wet floor during cleaning of toilets and general areas;
- Obstructions: boxes, flower pots;
- Working at height: while accessing high areas on ladders;
- Awkward postures: during cleaning of hard to reach areas, during mopping, lifting, clearing
weeds;
- Heavy loads: during disposal of old furniture, pushing heavy push carts, emptying rubbish
into bulk bins;
- Biological hazards: communicable diseases - Influenza A (H1N1) or Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome (SARS);
- Electrical hazards: working with electrical equipment;
- Heat: when working outdoors or poorly ventilated areas;
- Loud noise: when using water jet cleaners, blower.

Recognising Unsafe Acts


Workers should be encouraged to report unsafe acts so as to prevent accidents, injuries and ill-
health. A system should be established to encourage workers to report unsafe acts or provide
feedback.

Recognising Work-related Injuries and Diseases


Work-related injuries and diseases can be prevented; early recognition and intervention is vital.
Workers should be informed and encouraged to report any work related injuries. Supervisors
and management staff should be trained to identify symptoms of work related injuries and
investigate to determine the underlying causes so that correct and effective preventive
measures can be taken.

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Common Injuries in Cleaning and Custodial Services
Work-related Musculoskeletal Injuries
A musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) affects the muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Many
of these injuries are the result of work involving exposure to awkward postures, repetitive
movements, prolonged hours of work and handling of heavy loads. Carrying out the good
work practices recommended in this technical advisory can help to prevent work-related MSD
in workers.

Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD)


Which parts of the body are commonly affected?
- Neck
- Back
- Shoulders
- Arms
- Elbows
- Wrists/hands/fingers
- Knees

What are the signs and symptoms?


- Pain
- Numbness
- Tingling sensation
- Weakness
- Stiffness of joints

What are the factors that increase the risk of MSD?


- Repetitive and heavy lifting
- Bending and twisting
- Repeating an action too frequently
- Uncomfortable working position
- Exerting too much force
- Exerting a force in a static position for extended periods of time
- Working too long without breaks
- Adverse working environment (e.g. hot, cold)
- Psychosocial factors

What should workers do?


Workers should be encouraged to report such injuries to their supervisors as soon as
possible.

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Slips, Trips and Falls
Many workplace injuries also result from workers slipping on slippery floors, tripping over
physical obstructions or falling from height. Factors which increase this risk include insufficient
lighting, poor housekeeping, wet and slippery floors, lack of guardrails or handrails on platforms
or staircases, unsafe use of ladders and carelessness. Proper personal protection equipment
such as safety shoes/boots can protect the worker from slips as well as other hazards, such
as foot injury, skin damage and skin injury due to prolonged contact with water and soap.
Footwear such as boots should be cleaned regularly and changed if they are damaged so as to
minimise the risk of fungal infection.

Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls


Encourage workers to report poor lighting.
Keep floors and stairs dry and clean.
Ensure carpets and rugs are free of holes and loose edges.
Hang power cords over aisles or work areas to prevent tripping accidents.
Use anti-slip flooring or non-slip working shoes.
Place signs to warn of slippery surfaces.
Hold onto handrails when climbing stairs or slopes.
Keep work area neat - do not leave materials and boxes lying haphazardly around.
Install guardrails on elevated platforms to prevent falls. Where physical guards
are not feasible, provide alternatives like safety harnesses anchored to a lifeline or
anchorage point.

4.1 Mopping
Equipment Selection
Buckets should have:
Low, wide stable base;
Large castors (wheels); at least four;
Moulded hand grips;
Large openings;
Separate compartments for clean and dirty water; and
Lightweight wringers which are attached to the mop bucket and which makes use of the
users body weight to function.

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Mops should have:
Mop heads that do not readily shed loose threads;
smaller mop heads preferred as they are lighter
when wet, and easier to squeeze;
Telescopic handles for easy adjustment; to adjust
length of the handle to the height of the users
forehead to reduce bending; and
Handles which are padded to cushion and improve Figure 4.1.1: Bending the back when
the users grip. mopping can result in unnecessary
strain to the lower back.
Gloves should be:
Of an impervious material e.g. plastic or rubber.
Cotton gloves may be worn inside for added
comfort; and
Of correct size and fit.

Footwear should be:


Non-slip, to prevent slipping on the wet surfaces.

Sign boards should be placed at appropriate locations Figure 4.1.2: Maintain a straight
to warn passers-by of slippery floor conditions during back. Wear impervious gloves
mopping. and non-slip safety boots. Put
up adequate warning signs to
warn passers-by of slippery floor
Recommended Work Practices conditions.
When mopping, only half of the passageway should be
mopped, so as to provide a dry passage for passers-by to
walk through the area safely. Allow the first half of the
passageway to dry before starting to mop on the second
half. Mopping should be done such that the worker
moves away from the wetted area and does not need to
step onto it (Figure 4.1.1 & Figure 4.1.2).

A mop can weigh up to 11 kilograms when soaking wet.


Wet mopping can cause significant contact stress over
the hand and wrist. It also results in unnecessary strain Figure 4.1.3: Wringing mop above
shoulder level should be avoided.
to the lower back.

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Wringing a mop (Figure 4.1.3 & Figure 4.1.4)
Bend knees and keep back straight when pressing
the mop wringer down.
Use body weight to press down on the lever.
Wring mop at waist level.
Use a mop bucket which is raised off the floor to
reduce the bending force required to wring out the
water. Figure 4.1.4: Use a mop bucket.
Wring mop at waist level and do not
Mopping (Figure 4.2.1 & Figure 4.2.2) bend the back when squeezing out
the water.
Alternate right and left hands at the top of the mop
handle.
Maintain a straight back.
Avoid extreme wrist motions e.g. excessive bending
of wrists.
Use neutral body/shoulder position.
Avoid extreme reaches to the right and left and avoid
twisting.
Take the mop for a walk;
Figure 4.2.1: Avoid awkward
- Walking the mop uses far less upper body
postures such as lifting the arm
motion. above shoulder height. Mop handles
- Use legs to generate force by stepping or shifting should be of the appropriate length.
body weight.
- Keep arms close to the body so as to stabilise
the shoulders. Electrical cleaning machines can
be used to help clean the floor ergonomically.
Refer to the chapter on Handling Electrical
Equipment for more information on hazards
associated with the use of such machines.

4.2 Sweeping Figure 4.2.2: Avoid overextending to


the right and left.
Sweeping of floors may involve awkward wrist positions
and prolonged contact pressure on hands. Also, the back
and neck are often kept in an awkward forward bent
posture.

Figure 4.2.3: Do not bend the back.


Use tools that allow the user to
remain upright.
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Equipment Selection
Lightweight brooms and stand up dustpans.
Long-handled tongs for picking up debris.
Plastic or rubber gloves with thin cotton glove inside.
Non-slip covered shoes.

Recommended Work Practices


Figure 4.2.4: Bend at the knees and
Sweeping (Figure 4.2.3 & Figure 4.2.4) not the back when removing weeds
Stand upright when sweeping. while sweeping. Use a tong when
picking up debris or wear gloves
Alternate right and left hands at the top of the broom
(cotton and plastic).
handle.
Do not bend the back.
Use gloved hands or tongs when picking up debris.

Sweeping staircases
Proper posture should be adopted to prevent
musculoskeletal injuries. Care should be taken to prevent
falling backwards (Figure 4.2.5 & Figure 4.2.6):

Figure 4.2.5: Wrong standing


position can result in a fall.

Figure 4.2.6: Adopt a stable position.

Important Tips
Adopt a stable position before commencing work.
Descend down the steps slowly.
Always look behind before descending.
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Sweeping canopy and link way roof
Proper and safe access should be provided for accessing the top of a canopy or link way roof.
If a ladder is used and there is no way of securing it, it should be supported by another person
to provide additional stability.

Important Tips
Ensure that the ladder is of sound construction.
A ladder should be supported by another person when climbing is done.
Access the ladder with both hands free of any tools.
Maintain 3-point (e.g. 2 feet and one hand or 2 hands and one foot) contact with the
ladder when climbing.
Hoist up the hand tools after the worker had climbed up.
Workers should be instructed to avoid going near an open side.
Workers should wear a safety belt when necessary this is to prevent them from
accidentally reaching open sides.
Workers should be instructed to avoid working at such locations during poor
weather.

4.3 Wiping and Dusting


Equipment Selection
Cloth used should be large enough to be efficient but not too big such that squeezing out
excess water takes no more than two squeezing motions.
Lightweight long-handled mops or squeegees should be used for cleaning smooth vertical
surfaces and hard to reach areas.
Step ladder which is stable and sturdy in construction to gain access to height.
Impervious gloves e.g. rubber or plastic; of the correct size and length. Wear a layer of
cotton glove inside for added comfort.

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Recommended Work Practices
Wringing a cloth
The twisting force of the wringing action gets out more
water than a simple squeeze, but this can cause wrist
injury when done repetitively. To avoid injury, hold one
hand above the other to produce a squeezing action
this allows both wrist joints to be in a straight neutral
position.
Figure 4.3.1: Avoid overextending,
Wiping horizontal/vertical surfaces and working above shoulder height.

Use effective cleaning products and let the cleaning


products do the work.
Divide the work into sections to allow task rotation.
Alternate arms to reduce muscle fatigue.

Cleaning lift walls (Figure 4.3.1 & Figure 4.3.2)


Stand upright and use a lightweight long-handled
mop or squeegee.
Adjust the length of a telescopic handle to minimise Figure 4.3.2: Attach a long handled
awkward bending and overreaching. pole to a piece of cloth to clean hard
Alternate hands to avoid fatigue. to reach places.

Use the legs, not just the arms to generate force.


For over-the-shoulder activities:
- Limit time spent in this position.
- Allow for more frequent work breaks.
- Rotate tasks regularly to change the physical
demands.

Important Tips
Workers must be instructed to work within their reach.

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Cleaning notice boards (Figure 4.3.4 & Figure 4.3.5):
Cleaning letter bins
Reaching up while cleaning for long periods of
time requires awkward and fixed positions of the
arms, shoulders and neck. This task can lead to pain,
stiffness in the neck, shoulders, arms and upper neck.
The reach of workers can be extended by using
cleaning/dusting tools with telescoping handles or
standing on step ladders.

Cleaning/dusting high places


Keep elbows close to the body to minimise over- Figure 4.3.4: Avoid bending the body
reaching. awkwardly.
Use lightweight tools with telescoping handles and
bendable necks.
Bend the neck of the handle to align it with the
surface to be cleaned.
Extend the telescopic handle and step back from the
wall to improve neck posture.
Use step ladders.

Figure 4.3.5: Bend knees to squat


and clean.

Important Tips
When using telescopic cleaning tools:
Keep hands in front and between shoulders;
Try to keep elbows below shoulder level;
Hold the tool across the body while walking forward to minimise arm movements;
and
Workers can use the tool to clean higher locations by walking forward and clean
lower locations by walking backwards.

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4.4 Disposal of Refuse
Equipment Selection
Impervious gloves which provide good grip and
preferably prevent sharps injury. Wear thin cotton
gloves inside for added comfort.
Activated charcoal face masks to reduce the users
discomfort from foul smells.
Non-slip safety shoes or boots.
Long-handled tongs for picking up debris.

Recommended Work Practices Figure 4.4.1: Keep the back straight.


Emptying litter bins (Figure 4.4.1, Figure 4.4.2 & Figure Use two hands to lift the bin cover.
4.4.3)
Check the weight of the bin by pushing or tilting it.
Look over the contents of the bin for sharp points or
protrusions and avoid touching the contents of the
bins.
Use proper lifting technique. Bend knees and keep
the back straight when picking up or lowering
litterbins.
Change hands to pick up and lower litterbins.
Keep fingers away from falling objects while
emptying litter from litterbins.
Empty litter bins frequently to avoid accumulation,
which can result in heavy loads. Figure 4.4.2: Keep the spine straight
and use long-handled tongs to
remove litter from within litterbin.

Figure 4.4.3: Keep the back straight.


Position the litterbin onto the bin
cart before emptying the contents.

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Pushing bin cart to bin centre
Overloading the bin cart means greater force is needed
to push it, particularly if going upslope. Also, ensure that
materials are evenly distributed around the bin cart to
increase stability. Unstable bin carts can easily topple
when pushed over uneven surfaces, such as over road
humps or uneven roads (Figure 4.4.4 & Figure 4.4.5).
The bin cart should be stocked only with tools and
materials that will be needed. Figure 4.4.4: Avoid clutter and
The bin cart should be slowed down when it is rolled unnecessary load on the cleaner by
throwing away rubbish.
over road humps or uneven road surfaces.
Routes where there is the need to push the bin cart
upslope should be avoided.

Figure 4.4.5: A multiple-use hand


cart reduces the need for lifting and
requires less force in pushing.

Important Tips
Workers should be instructed not to stop bin carts that tip over this is to prevent
straining.

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Emptying refuse chutes (Figure 4.4.6 & Figure 4.4.7)
Workers should always seek assistance from a co-
worker.
A visual check of the contents of the bin should be
conducted, for sharp points or protrusions.
The contents of the bins should not be touched.
Grasp the lip around the rim of the refuse chute; use
2 hands if the chute is heavy and avoid bending of
the wrists. Figure 4.4.6: Bend knees and with
the back straight, lift the load with a
The refuse chute must be positioned on the bulk bin good grip and keep the load close to
before the contents are emptied. the body. Do not lift and twist.
The bulk bin should not be overloaded.

Figure 4.4.7: Keep the back straight


during emptying and avoid lifts
above the shoulder level.

Important Tips
Workers must check the weight of refuse bins. They must not lift them if they are too
heavy!

Transport of Refuse/Lifting of Dumpsters


Use a mechanised bulk bin dumpster, if available, to
save time, increase efficiency and to avoid the need for
manual lifting (Figure 4.4.8).

Figure 4.4.8: Always transport refuse


to the dump site using a battery-
operated car.

Important Tips
Always mechanise where possible to avoid the need for manual handling of heavy loads.

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Hard Hats/Helmets for Head Protection
Head injuries may arise while maneuvering inside a pump room, water tank, where there may
be low lying pipes. Hard hats/helmets are needed to protect the head while accessing such
areas and when there is a danger of being struck by falling objects. Care, proper maintenance
and usage of the hard hats/helmets are crucial to ensure adequate protection.

In addition, workers are at risk of being struck by falling objects when working near the sides
of buildings. Workers can also be injured by being struck by rubbish falling down the rubbish
chute. Thus, it is strongly encouraged that all workers, when disposing rubbish at the rubbish
chute, wear the hard hats/helmets to prevent head injuries.

4.5 Handling Electrical Equipment


Using the correct equipment can make work less physically demanding and reduce aches and
pain. However, it can result in injuries to the workers and people around the work area, if
workers are not trained on how to use and operate the equipment correctly and safely.

Electricity is a source of energy widely used to power and run many types of equipment and
appliances. When work is carried out with an electric powered tool or electrical equipment,
the worker is exposed to potential electrical hazard. An accident involving electricity can
cause a range of injuries including electric shock, electrical burns and death.

Electrical appliances and equipment are generally safe for use if they are designed and
manufactured to acceptable electrical standards and codes, and if they have been maintained
and kept in good condition. Most electrical appliances are built with safeguards to prevent
any over current or earth leakage from reaching a level dangerous enough to injure a person.
It is important that such safeguards are checked regularly to provide the necessary protection.

Another common source of electrical hazard is electrical installations. Electrical installations


must be installed in accordance with Singapore Standard CP5: Code of Practice for Electrical
Installations. Such installations as well as repairs, maintenance and inspections should always
be carried out by the electrical workers licensed by the Energy Market Authority.

19
Important Tips
All electrical equipment can cause electrocution. Electrical equipment must be inspected
daily before use.

Conduct visual inspection to detect the following:


- Improper wiring;
- Exposed electrical parts or wiring;
- Damaged or charred insulation;
- Overloading of circuit from plugging too many appliances on the same source (main
socket); and
- Connections in contact with water.

Ensure that electrical installations are in accordance with Singapore Standard CP 5: Code
of Practice for Electrical Installations.

Ensure that all installations, repairs, maintenance and inspections are carried out by
electrical workers licensed by Energy Market Authority.

Common Types of Electrical Equipment


Mechanical sweeper (Figure 4.4.9)
This equipment picks up waste through the exhaust
hood at the side and deposits it into a bag. No human
intervention is required except to empty the bag when
it is full. However, the operator must be trained in
operating the sweeper. As this is also driven on public
roads, the operator has to observe traffic rules and be
consistently aware of the surroundings.
Figure 4.4.9: Mechanical sweeper.
Below are good practices to observe when operating the
sweeper:
Ensure that the operator is properly trained;
Check equipment everyday before operating it;
Do not speed;
Observe traffic rules when travelling on public roads;
Check behind for any persons when reversing;
Operate according to manufacturers specifications;
Maintain the equipment regularly;
Do not improvise or modify equipment;
Wear safety belt when driving the equipment;
If noisy, wear ear plugs.

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Mechanical scrubber (Figure 4.4.10)
The use of a scrubber eliminates the need for cleaners
to manually scrub tiles. Cleaners should wear impervious
boots and gloves while carrying out the work and, wear
ear plugs, if it is noisy.

Figure 4.4.10: Mechanical scrubber.

Important Tips
Containment trays are to be used when pouring chemicals.
Workers must wear non-slip rubber boots.
Put up warning signs.
Cordon the area that needs to be cleaned to prevent slips and trips.
Control the scrubbing machine close to your body. Arrange the wire properly and
place it at the side.
Maintain and service the equipment regularly.

Pressurised washing using spray jet (Figure 4.4.11 &


Figure 4.4.12)
The use of pressurised washing helps to shorten
cleaning work. Pressurised water jets, used to provide
high pressure water to clean the floor, can become
dangerous should the operator lose control of the jet.
This may result in injury to the operator or others within
the cleaning area. Precautious must be taken against
sudden surge of water when the motor powering the Figure 4.4.11: Put on personal
spray gun is switched on. It is a good practice to turn off protective equipment.
the motor when it is not in use.

When washing, the spray jet operator should wear the


following protective gear:
Non-slip rubber boots and impervious gloves;
A suitable face shield or safety glasses to protect the
eyes; and
Ear plugs if it is noisy.

Figure 4.4.12: Wear non-slip rubber


boots and impervious gloves, safety
goggles and ear plugs.

21
Important Tips
The following practices can ensure safe operations during the use of pressurised
washing.
Cordon area during washing to prevent slips and falls.
Ensure electrical cables, unless designed to be used in wet conditions, are not lying
on a wet floor.
Handle the pressure jet carefully.
Beware of back pressure when the motor is turned on.
Point the pressure jet gun away from the feet during washing.
Plan the route of travel of the water jet.
Turn off the spray gun when not in use.
Do not entangle the water hose.
Look out for members of public while cleaning.
Switch off the machine and turn off the water supply immediately after washing.

Battery Operated Cart (BOC)


Battery Operated Cart (BOC) is a common vehicle used to ferry the rubbish bins to and from
the rubbish chutes and the rubbish collection centre. The BOC increases efficiency and
productivity. It is useful for the removal of big and bulky items such as discarded furniture.
However, cleaners must be adequately trained to operate the equipment.

Important Tips
Ensure that cleaners are trained before operating the BOC.
Check that head lights, signals, hazard lights and brakes are working properly before
use.
All items placed on the BOC must be secured to prevent them falling off.
Rubbish bins must be covered with a canvas sheet.
Cleaners must be trained and instructed to drive safely.
No speeding should be allowed.
Always give way to members of public.
The BOC must only be operated within the estate apron area and pavement only.
Ensure that BOC is maintained regularly to remain serviceable.
Ensure that the external structure of BOC is made of sound material and is of good
construction.

22
4.6 Handling Chemicals
Workers are exposed to many hazardous chemicals. Many common cleaning products (glass
cleaner, floor finish, metal polish, detergents, and disinfectants) contain solvents and corrosive/
caustic agents. Direct skin contact with some of these chemicals can cause burns or allergy.
Prolonged contact can cause skin rashes due to irritation. Chemical spills or splashes can cause
damage to the eyes and may lead to blindness. Volatile chemicals such as solvents, if inhaled,
can cause drowsiness and even poisoning. Irritating vapours can cause coughing, breathing
problems and occupational asthma. High concentrations of harmful vapours or gases can
accumulate particularly in poorly ventilated or confined areas. It is therefore important
for workers to be aware of the hazards and to adopt safe work practices to avoid chemical
exposure.

Common Chemical Hazards
Take the necessary precautionary measures to protect
against chemical hazards (Figure 4.6.1) :
Know about the chemicals used by reading the
Safety Data Sheets (SDS);
Read the labels on chemical containers;
To prevent breathing in the chemicals, wear
appropriate masks, check the relevant SDS for
selecting the correct type of masks;
To prevent skin absorption or contact:
- Wear gloves, safety glasses/goggles and
appropriate personal protective equipment at all Figure 4.6.1: Ensure that workers
know their chemicals and are
times when handling chemicals;
provided with the correct personal
- Check the SDS for correct type of material for protective equipment when doing
gloves, shoes, sleeves; and their work.
- Wash immediately after contact with any
chemical.
To prevent accidental ingestion, good personal
hygiene must be practiced. Workers must be
instructed not to eat, drink or smoke when hands are
dirty; and
Ensure that all persons handling chemicals follow
safe work procedures to protect themselves.

23
Workers should be protected by blocking entry of chemicals into the body or preventing direct
contact with chemicals.

Inhalation Skin contact Ingestion

1
Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are information sheets about chemical substances provided by chemical manufacturers or
suppliers. They contain information on the identity and properties of the chemical ingredients, their toxic or health
effects, fire and explosion hazards, safety precautions and emergency procedures.
24
Understanding Labels
To interpret the labels, refer to the table below for more information.

GHS
Examples of Precautions for Safe
Pictograms/ Hazard
Chemicals Handling and Storage
Symbols

Corrosives Acids Avoid skin contact


Can burn skin (hydrochloric Protect eyes and face
acid, sulfuric
Can damage or Practise good personal
acid)
eat away metal, hygiene
wood and other Bases
Store in proper containers
materials (ammonium
hydroxide, Keep containers in trays to
sodium avoid leaks
hydroxide) Keep corrosives away
from incompatible or
flammable materials (e.g.
separate organic acids from
inorganic acids)

Flammables Gases Avoid ignition sources (e.g.


Catch fire (hydrogen, flames, hot surfaces)
at room acetylene) Avoid storage in bulk
temperature Liquids Ventilate storage areas
(gasoline,
thinner,
alcohol)

Acute toxicity Cyanide Use mechanical or enclosed


(Severe) processes to avoid contact
Provide local exhaust
ventilation or dilution
ventilation
Practise good personal
hygiene (wash hands before
eating and keep food and
drinks away from work
areas)
Wear suitable personal
protective equipment (PPE)
Label containers
Avoid bulk storage

25
GHS
Examples of Precautions for Safe
Pictograms/ Hazard
Chemicals Handling and Storage
Symbols

Irritant Solvents Use mechanical or enclosed


Cleaning processes to avoid contact
agents Provide local exhaust
Lubricants ventilation or dilution
ventilation
Coolants
Practise good personal
hygiene (wash hands before
eating and keep food and
drinks away from work
areas)
Wear suitable PPEs

Carcinogens Benzene Substitute with less


Cancer causing Asbestos hazardous chemicals
Arsenic Use mechanical or enclosed
processes to avoid contact
Provide local exhaust
ventilation or dilution
ventilation
Wear suitable PPEs

Oxidizers Peroxide Avoid incompatible


Substances that (organic and materials (e.g. flammable
give off oxygen inorganic) materials)
and react to Nitric acid Avoid heat and ignition
cause fire or sources (e.g. flames, hot
explosion surfaces)
Provide adequate
ventilation
Avoid bulk storage
Store at correct temperature
Provide trays for storage
areas to contain spills

26
Important Tips
Storage
Every stored chemical should have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
Store flammables in steel cabinets away from naked flames and heat source.
Restrict access to hazardous chemical storage areas.
Ensure that all chemical containers are properly labelled.

Training
Workers should be trained in:
Recognising safety and health hazards;
Preventive measures;
Safe handling of chemicals
Usage of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE); and
Emergency procedures.

Handling
Workers should:
Wear appropriate PPE at all times when handling chemicals.
Not mix cleaning chemicals containing bleach (sodium hypochlorite) with an acid as
toxic gases (chlorine) may be liberated.
Clean up any spillage on floors or surfaces immediately.
Go for medical examinations, if they are exposed to chemicals listed under the
Factories (Medical Examinations) Regulations.

Emergency measures
Provide emergency showers and eyewash where corrosives are handled.

4.7 Protection against Biological Hazards


When conducting risk assessment, biological hazards and the risks they pose to workers must
be considered.

In the course of their work, workers can come into contact with biological hazards such as
saliva and sputum. Workers may also be tasked to disinfect workplaces after communicable
diseases e.g. chickenpox, hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD), Influenza A (H1N1-2009) have
been detected. Some surfaces which are likely to be contaminated include floor, door knobs,
benches, tables and buttons in lifts.

27
If the risk assessment indicates that workers may come into contact with biological hazards
e.g. where suspected / known cases of communicable diseases have occured, additional
protective measures must be put in place to safeguard their health.
a) Use of personal protective equipment
Disposable impervious gloves.
Safety boots or shoes.
Disposable gowns.
Goggles: to prevent accidental hand contact to eyes and sphlases.
N95 mask.

Correct Use of N95 Masks


Check for correct size.
Ensure proper fit (show diagram on fit-testing).
Do not touch N95 masks with contaminated hands as droplets from gloves can be a
source of infection.
Discard and change when physically damaged.
Workers must inform their supervisor if they feel dizzy, experience difficulty in
breathing and skin irritation.

Gloves must be removed, discarded and replaced with a new pair if they get damaged
or soiled.
All other disposable PPE must be removed and discarded after cleaning activities have
been completed. Discarded items are to be securely sealed in a bag and labelled as
biohazard waste. Such bags are to be disposed as with other types of biohazard waste.
If used, goggles, boots, and shoes should be disinfected according to the manufacturers
recommendations.

b) Observance of good personal hygiene


After completion of cleaning or disinfection work in such areas and the PPE has been
removed, workers must wash their hands immediately and throughly to minimise the
risk of transmission

c) Informing supervisor if unwell


Workers that are assigned to such duties must also be informed of the symptoms of
infection and they must be strongly encouraged to report to their supervisors if they
develop symptoms. Symptoms may only develop after a few years, depending on the
type of disease.

28
4.8 Working at Height
Workers may need to work at height when carrying out cleaning work such as working on
rooftops of covered link ways, clearing debris on gutters, checking gutters for mosquito
breeding and cleaning hard to reach surfaces.

As far as reasonably practicable, work at height should be avoided.

In Singapore, falls from height is one of the most common causes of workplace death. Workers
can potentially slip and fall from ladders, lose balance and fall if there is no barrier protection,
trip and fall, fall through glass roof panes, etc. Employers should take all precautions to prevent
falls.

Questions to Ask Before Working at Height


Can work at height be avoided?
Has a plan been developed for the work?
Have hazards been identified and the risks managed?
Have appropriate fall protection measures been selected and implemented e.g. installing
barricades, selecting the most suitable equipment, etc.?
Have the workers involved been properly trained?
Has a buddy-system been put in place?
Has sufficient supervision been provided?
Have all precautionary measures been taken?
Have equipment been checked for defects?
If there is still a residual risk of fall, what are the measures in place to minimise the potential
injury?

Important Tips
Workers must be instructed and trained to recognise and not to step onto surfaces
which cannot take a persons weight. Accidents have occurred when workers
stepped on glass panels, ceiling tiles and panels.
Barricade the surrounding area where the work is being carried out.
If eliminating or avoiding working at height is not possible, ensure provision of
adequate protection for workers such as guard railing, safety harness, and safety
mesh erected around the work area.

29
Common Work at Height Equipment
Ladder
A ladder is a commonly used piece of equipment for working at height. The ladder should be
maintained to ensure that it is in good working condition. Conduct a visual inspection before
every use. Only use ladders if there are no better means of access.

Important Tips
Inspect the ladder before and after each use. Do not use defective ladders e.g. a
ladder with broken or missing rungs: loose hinges, or missing screws or bolts.
Make sure that:
- Only one hand needs to be used for work;
- Work can be reached easily;
- The ladder is stable; and
- It has a good hand hold.
Set ladders on a flat firm surface, using:
- Slip-resistant feet;
- Secure blocking; or
- Use ties.
If the ladder cannot be secured, have a second person standing at the foot of the
ladder and holding it while in use.
Angle the ladder to minimise risk of outward slipping.
Extend ladders about 1m above the working platform to provide a handhold for
workers.
Position the ladder to reach the work area safely and do not climb or work off a
ladder unless it is possible to maintain holds onto the ladder during work.
Face the ladder when standing on it and when climbing up or down.
Keep the centre of the body within the side rails.
Ensure that another co-worker holds onto the ladder to stabilse the ladder.
Do not use the top platform of a stepladder unless it has special handholds.
Ensure stepladders are positioned on level ground and follow manufacturers
instructions for use.
Examine ladder regularly for defects.
Workers must be instructed not to attempt to repair defective ladders.

30
Lifeline
Securing a lifeline is critical for work at height so that workers can have a proper anchorage for
their safety harness/safety belt. When a worker is required to carry out cleaning or maintenance
work to the external faade of a building, a lifeline can be secured to a firm point of anchorage.
This practice is encouraged to ensure the workers safety while working at height.

Scaffold
Scaffolds (fixed or mobile) can be used in areas where ladders are not suitable. Refer to the
WSH (Scaffold) Regulations for more information on the erection and use of scaffolds.

Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) - Boomlift


A Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) offers greater protection to workers. The operator
must be trained to operate the machine competently. The provision of a supervisor is also
important. This equipment can be manoeuvred to reach difficult areas.

Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) - Scissor lift


A scissor lift offers direct straight elevation of height but care must be taken to prevent
overstretching of the body to the contact surface. Workers need to be competent and trained
to operate this equipment.

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5. Workplace Safety and Health
Management Programme

Employers are encouraged to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace safety and
health (WSH) management programme to establish a safe and healthy working environment,
so as to prevent workplace accidents and work-related illnesses. For wider acceptance,
management and workers should work together to develop the programme.

5.1 WSH Policy and Organisation


The managements commitment is important to ensure the success of a WSH management
programme. There should be a written policy which clearly states the managements
commitment and approach towards establishing a safe and healthy work environment. The
policy should state the organisations safety and health philosophy and structure, including
objectives and goals to be achieved. It should spell out the duties and responsibilities of both
management and staff. The written policy should be endorsed by the top management and
communicated to all levels of staff, including sub-contractors.

Management commitment can be demonstrated by:


Implementing WSH policies, programmes and training with top management support.
Establishing appropriate WSH performance goals throughout the organisation.
Organising and participating in WSH activities.
Giving recognition to WSH in work performance reviews.
Giving praise to employees who work safely and counselling those who do not.

Responsibilities of Employer and Employee


The employer has a duty to ensure the safety and health of their staff and should take the
lead in promoting WSH. WSH personnel should be appointed to advise management on all
WSH matters and to assist in the implementation of WSH programmes. Employees should
understand that safety and health is not just the responsibility of the employer, but that they
too have a role to play.

Responsibilities of Employers and Employees


Employer
Develop and implement an effective WSH programme.
Inform all staff of the workplace hazards and ensure that WSH rules, training
schedules and safe work procedures are followed.
Provide adequate training.
32
Provide proper equipment including personal protective equipment.
Provide welfare facilities like rest areas.
Provide first aid boxes.
Document the WSH programme and keep records of all reported accidents, incidents
and diseases.

Employees
Follow instructions and safe work procedures.
Attend WSH training.
Use the safety devices and personal protective equipment provided in the correct
manner.
Report accidents, incidents, diseases and any workplace hazards to the supervisor or
employer.
Suggest ways to improve the safety and health of the work.

5.2 Risk Management


Risk management is a key component to reduce risks at source. Under the WSH Act, risk
management duties are imposed on every employer, self-employed person and principal
(including contractor and sub-contractor). These parties must take all reasonably practicable
measures to ensure that the workplace is safe and without risks to every person within its
premise.

The responsible parties must identify workplace hazards by reviewing both routine and
non-routine activities carried out by workers and the equipment used, assess the risks posed
by the hazards and develop measures to control the hazards. Before implementation, it is
advisable to test the feasibility of the recommended measures. It is important to document
the risk management process. The steps in a risk management exercise are summarised in the
flowchart below:

Select activities and Implement


Identify the Assess the hazards
equipment for measures to control
hazards involved and risks involved
analysis the hazards

Evaluate
effectiveness of
control measures
and record findings

Refer to Chapter 3 for more information on Risk Assessment.

33
Useful Guides for Risk Management
Guide to Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations.
Quick Guide to Risk Assessment.
Risk Assessment Guidelines.
Activity Based Risk Assessment Form.
Trade Based Risk Assessment Form.

For more information on risk management, refer to the MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg.

5.3 Safe Work Procedures


Employers are encouraged to establish safe work procedures for the various types of work
carried out. Safe work procedures should be effectively communicated to all staff, during
orientation of new staff and at regular intervals for existing staff. Employers should establish a
system to ensure that existing safe work procedures are reviewed whenever new equipment
or processes are introduced or when there are changes to the operating procedures.

5.4 Safety Training


Safety training is important in providing staff with the knowledge and skills to work in a safe
manner. A system to identify the safety training needs for each level of staff is useful for
making training plans. Safety training for supervisors is particularly important as they have
to ensure that their workers work in a safe manner. Safety training can be incorporated into
the operational training of the staff. Such training can be carried out on-the-job, by trained
supervisors, or by external trainers. Training records should be kept and training materials
reviewed whenever new equipment or processes are introduced or when there are changes to
the operating procedures.

What should the safety training cover?


- Risks associated with the work.
- Workplace safety and health policies, safety measures and safe work procedures.
- Proper usage of equipment and personal protective equipment.

When should the safety training be conducted?


During orientation of new employees.
When new equipment or processes are introduced.
When staff are transferred to another department.
Periodically for existing staff.

34
Target Audience

Operations Supervisory Managerial


Follow safe work Interpret workplace Identify
practices and risk control safety and health policies, responsibilities under the
procedures procedures and Workplace Safety and
programmes Health Act (WSH Act)
Participate in Educate workers on Establish and
workplace safety and workplace safety and maintain workplace safety
health management health policies, and health framework
activities procedures and
programmes
Follow workplace Implement and Establish and
emergency response control workplace safety evaluate workplace safety
procedures and health management and health system,
programmes policies, procedures and
programmes
Implement Establish workplace
workplace risk risk management
management programmes procedures
Maintain workplace Risk control measures
risk control measures

For more information on workplace safety and health training, visit the Singapore
Workforce Development Agency (WDA) website at www.wda.gov.sg.

5.5 Communication
Group meetings should be conducted regularly to discuss safety and health issues and to
disseminate safety and health information to staff, including contractors. Employers should
provide adequate facilities for such meetings.

All staff should be encouraged to participate. Daily briefs and de-briefs (toolbox meeting) can
serve as effective channels for conveying WSH messages and information.

35
5.6 Employee Participation
Workplaces with 50 or more workers should form WSH committees with representation
from management and employees. Details on the establishment of WSH committees and
its function can be found in the Workplace Safety and Health (Workplace Safety and Health
Committees) Regulations.

Employers should encourage their employees to form WSH Innovation Teams. This will provide
them with a channel to contribute ideas and solutions to make their workplace a safer and
more productive one.

5.7 Accident, Incident and Disease Investigation and


Analysis
Every accident, incident or occupational disease occurring at the workplace should be
investigated in order to identify the root cause so as to prevent similar occurrences in the
future.

A system should be established for reporting and investigating any work-related accident,
incident or disease. Lessons learnt from the investigations should be communicated to relevant
staff. Accident statistics should be collected and analysed to identify problem areas and trends.

Legal Requirement for Incident Reporting


There are legal requirements for the notification of work-related accidents and
occupational diseases to the Ministry of Manpower. For more information on incident
reporting refer to the MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg.

Examples of Occupational Diseases Requiring Notification


Occupational skin disease.
Noise-induced deafness.
Repetitive strain disorders of the upper limb.
Occupational asthma.

5.8 In-house WSH Rules and Regulations


A set of written WSH rules and regulations should be established for compliance by staff
and contractors. These also serve as a reminder of their safety and health obligations and
responsibilities. Key legal requirements can be incorporated into these rules and regulations.

More specific or detailed safety rules and regulations can be developed by each department.

36
Useful References for Setting Up Safety Rules and Regulations
National OSH legislation and guidelines on the MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg.
Relevant Singapore Standards and Codes of Practice.
Overseas guidelines (see Reference Section).

5.9 Safety Promotion


Employers should establish promotional programmes to create WSH awareness, and to build a
strong safety culture at the workplace.

The following are some promotional activities that can be organised:


Participation in WSH talks, seminars and exhibitions;
Participation in the National WSH Campaign;
Participation in national WSH competitions e.g. Safety Starts with Me competition, WSH
Innovation Awards;
Subscription to WSH Bulletin on the WSH Council Website at www.wshc.gov.sg;
Inclusion of WSH section in town council newsletters;
In-house poster competitions, quiz competitions, best WSH-conscious work team
competitions and WSH exhibitions.

5.10 Evaluation, Selection and Control of Contractors


It is common for respective managing agents (MA) and town councils to appoint contractors
for certain jobs in their premises. The MA should establish a system to evaluate, select and
control contractors. Such a system allows the MA to assess contractors based on their safety
policy and procedures, WSH performance records, WSH training and evidence of competency
records, before any work is awarded. The bizSAFE programme implemented by the Workplace
Safety and Health Council (WSHC) provides a yardstick for the MAs and town councils to select
contractors.

For more information on bizSAFE, refer to the WSH Council website at www.wshc.gov.sg

37
5.11 Safety Inspection
MAs and town councils should establish an effective programme to carry out periodic
inspections to identify potential hazards, unsafe acts and conditions in the workplace, as
well as to monitor any changes in the work processes. Please refer to the sample inspection
checklist provided. Such inspections should involve both the management and employees.
Findings from such inspections should be recorded and analysed. Recommendations and
follow-up actions should be properly documented. Employers are to ensure that the follow-up
actions are adhered to.

5.12 Maintenance Programme


An effective maintenance programme should be established for all equipment (e.g. cleaning
and lifting equipment) and tools used. This will help prevent accidents resulting from the
failure of such equipment and tools.

The programme should include the establishment of a complete list of machinery and
equipment used within the premises, inspection and maintenance schedules and records.
There should also be a system for staff to report any defective or damaged tool or equipment
in the course of their work.

5.13 Occupational Health Programmes


Occupational health programmes targeted at specific hazards should be established. Each
programme should specify the objectives, person-in-charge, component activities and
frequency.

Examples of Occupational Health Programmes

Hazards Programme
Excessive noise Hearing Conservation Programme
Chemicals, radioactive material, blood, Management of Hazardous Substances
urine, faeces Programme
Awkward work postures, repetitive work,
Ergonomics Programme
manual handling

38
Ear Plugs Hearing Protection
To prevent hearing loss, a person should not be exposed
to noise levels exceeding 85dBA for 8 hours a day or
its equivalent. Where the permissible exposure level is
exceeded, measures should be taken to reduce noise
exposure. Hearing protectors should be worn at all
times when exposed to loud noise and they should be
worn properly to ensure good fit. The hearing protectors
should be washed with soap and water everyday to keep Figure 5.13.1: Disposable ear plugs.
them clean.

The noise level in most cleaning and custodial work


can be controlled using ear plugs. Ear plugs are more
comfortable than ear muffs. Ear muffs are not needed
unless the noise level exceeds 100 dB(A), where both ear
muffs and ear plugs are to be worn (Figure 5.13.1 - Figure
5.13.3).

Figure 5.13.2: Reusable ear plugs.

Figure 5.13.3: Ear muffs.

Noise Control Solutions


Replace noisy machinery.
Locate noise sources away from hard walls or corners.
Isolate or enclose noise sources.
Construct suitable noise enclosures or barriers.
Line interior surfaces with sound absorbing materials.
Maintain machinery and equipment at regular intervals.
Wear ear plugs or ear muffs.
Turn down the volume of amplifiers.

Permissible exposure levels showing the corresponding length of time allowed for the various noise levels.

39
Sound Pressure Level dB(A) Maximum Duration per Day

85 8 hours
88 4 hours
91 2 hours
94 1 hour
97 30 minutes
100 15 minutes
103 7.5 minutes
106 4 minutes
109 2 minutes
111 1 minute

Useful Guidelines for Controlling Noise Hazard


Guidelines on Industrial Noise and Vibration Control.
Hearing Conservation Programme Guidelines.
A Guide for Noise Control in the Music Entertainment Industry.

The above guidelines are available on the MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg.

5.14 Emergency Preparedness


The establishment and effective implementation of an emergency response plan is crucial in
saving lives and mitigating losses should an emergency situation arise.

An Emergency Response Team should also be established, with the duties and responsibilities
of each member clearly defined. Management should ensure that all staff are familiar with
the plan and procedures in the event of an emergency. Regular drills and exercises should
therefore be conducted. An evaluation of the drill performance should be carried out and
lessons learnt used for improving the plan.

What should be included in an Emergency Response Plan?


Procedures for the raising of alarm.
Procedures for the evacuation and rescue of victims.
Provision of the means of rescue and first aid.
Provision of a means of communication with the relevant government authorities and
response agencies.

40
Examples of an emergency situation:
Fire;
Failure/ collapse of structure;
Harmful gas leakage.

5.15 Documentation and Review of Programme


There should be a system for the documentation and regular review of the programme. This
is to facilitate retrieval of relevant documents and to ensure that the programmes remain
relevant and effective. All revisions to the safety and health manual should be dated and
endorsed by authorised personnel. Recommendations that result from such reviews should
be considered and implemented wherever possible.

Sample Inspection Checklist


The sample inspection checklist can be used when conducting regular safety inspections. Go
over every aspect of the workplace to identify possible hazards, unsafe acts and conditions in
the workplace, as well as to monitor any changes in the work process.

Actions
Yes No
to Take
Floors and Walkways
Are aisles clear of materials or equipment?
Are main aisles at least 1.12 m wide?
Are doorways clear of materials or equipment?
Are carpets or tiles in good condition, free of tripping hazard?
Are floors clean and free of oil or grease?
Are floors kept dry?
Stairs and Ladders
Are ladders safe and in good condition?
Are stairwells clear of materials and equipment?
Are stairs and handrails in good condition?
Are ladders and stairs provided with anti-slip strips?
Electrical Safety
Are electrical wires in good condition?
Is there clear access to electrical panels?
Are proper plugs used?

41
Actions
Yes No
to Take
Are plugs, sockets, and switches in good condition?
Are portable power tools and electrical equipment in good
condition?
Fire Safety
Are fire extinguishers clearly marked?
Are fire extinguishers properly installed on walls?
Have fire extinguishers been inspected within the last year?
Are workers trained to use fire extinguishers?
Are flammable liquids properly stored?
Are smoke and fire alarms in place and properly maintained?
Are emergency lights in working condition?
Have sprinkler systems been inspected?
Are emergency exits clear of materials or equipment?
Are emergency exit signs working?
Are emergency lighting units provided?
Equipment and Machinery
Are equipment and machinery maintained in good condition?
Is machinery securely guarded?
Are operators properly trained?
Are switches clearly marked and easy to reach?
Is a lockout procedure in place?
Is there enough work space?
Are noise levels controlled?
Chemicals
Are Safety Data Sheets(SDSs) provided for all chemicals?
Are workers trained in identification of the hazards and the
preventive measures to observe?
Are relevant personal protective equipment provided?
Are containers clearly labelled?
Are chemicals properly stored?

42
Actions
Yes No
to Take
Are hazardous materials disposed of properly?
Are there procedures for chemical spills?
First Aid
Is the first aid box accessible and clearly labelled?
Is the first aid box adequate and complete?
Are emergency numbers displayed?
Are there trained first aiders?
Personal Protective Equipment
Do workers know where to find personal protective
equipment?
Eye/face protection Aprons
Boots Helmets
Gloves Ear plug
Aprons

43
6. Useful References

A. Ministry of Manpower - Occupational Safety


and Health Division
Legislation:
The following legislation is available on the MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg.
The Workplace Safety and Health Act
The Workplace Safety and Health Subsidiary Legislation
Factories Subsidiary Legislations

Guides to managing workplace hazard:


The following guides are available on the MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg.
Safety Circular on Lock-out Procedures (2000)
Safety Circular on Safe Work Procedures (2000)
Safety Circular on Electrical Safety
Hearing Conservation Programme Guidelines (2002)
Factsheets on Successful Noise Control Case Studies
Guidelines for Industrial Noise and Vibration Control (1999)
Guidelines on Prevention and Control of Chemical Hazard (2002)
Guidelines on Solvent Management in Dry Cleaning (2000)
Guidelines on Risk Assessment for Occupational Exposure to Harmful Chemicals (2002)

B. Workplace Safety and Health Council


The following guides are available on the WSH Council website at www.wshc.gov.sg.
Technical Advisory for Work in Noisy Environment
Technical Advisory for Falling from Height

C. Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications


For more information visit the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) or www.
wda.gov.sg.

44
D. Singapore Standards, Productivity and Innovation
Board (SPRING)
Singapore Standards CP92: 2002 Code of Practice for Manual Handling
Singapore Standards CP76: 1999 Code of Practice for Selection, Use, Care and Maintenance
of Hearing Protection
Singapore Standards. SS506

Contact
For further enquiries, please email us at Work Safety Health Council, contact@wsh.gov.sg.
To report accidents, dangerous occurrences and occupational diseases, visit:
www.mom.gov.sg/ireport.

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7. Acknowledgements

Contributors
Ministry of Manpower
Occupational Safety and Health Division
Dr Gan Siok Lin, Senior Specialist, Occupational Medicine
Dr Sylvia Teo, Senior Specialist, Occupational Medicine
Mr Ivan Goh, Specialist (Safety Engineering)

Workplace Safety and Health Council


Er. Tan Kee Chong, Senior Assistant Director (Practices and Information)
Moon Loh, Manager (WSH Practices)
Morris Hiang, Assistant Manager (WSH Practices)

NTUC Quality Worklife


Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Alignment Director
Ms Celia Yip, Principal Executive

Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees Union


Ms Jennie Yeo, Deputy Executive Secretary
Mr Edmund Ng, Principal Industrial Relations Officer

Bishan Toa Payoh Town Council


Mr Dennis Foo Hee Seng, Deputy General Manager

CPG Facilities Management Pte Ltd


Mr Jeffrey Chua, Managing Director
Mr Lee Kok Tai, Senior Property Manager

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EM Services Pte Ltd
Mr Yeo Jin Kiat, Property Manager

Jurong Town Council / United PREMAS Limited


Mr Kam Teck Kwong, Deputy General Manager

Sembcorp Environment Pte Ltd


Mr Milton Ng, Senior Vice President (GM Office)
Mr Daman Yeo, Assistant Training Manager

All pictures used for illustrative purposes in the Guideline are reproduced with the courtesy of:
Ban Chuan Trading & Engineering Pte Ltd
Aljunied Town Council
CPG Facilities Management Pte Ltd

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8. Annexes

Annex A
Table 1
General Penalties for Offences for Which No Penalty is Prescribed Under the Act.

Maximum
Category of Offender Maximum Fine Conditions
Imprisonment

Individual persons $ 200, 000 2 years Either or both


Workers $ 500,000
For failure to use
personal protective a) 1st conviction - $1,000
equipment or b) 2nd or subsequent
misuse of any safety conviction $ 2,000
appliance
Corporate body $ 1 million 2 years Either or both

Table 2
Failure to Comply With Remedial Order or Stop Work Order.

Maximum
Category of Offender Maximum Fine Conditions
Imprisonment

Person who fails


to comply with a $ 50,000
Remedial Order
12 months Either or both
Additional fine of $5,000
If offence is continued
for each day the offence
after conviction
continues
Person who fails to
comply with a Stop $ 500,000
Work Order
12 months Either or both
If the offence is
$ 20,000 for each day the
continued after
offence continues.
conviction
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* PULL OUT PAGES
* PULL OUT PAGES
Determination of Severity

Ranking Criteria

Environmental Assessment
In terms of pollution, will cause moderate damage to the
environment that requires general expertise and resources for
corrective actions or impact affects or is likely to affect the entire
site or
Medium (M)
In terms of resource use, moderate use of resource and resource
type is non-renewable or scarce or

Legal Considerations
Non-compliance with legal requirements that result in penalties

Occupational Health and Safety Assessment


No injury, injury or ill-health requiring first aid treatment only
(includes minor cuts and bruises, irritation, ill-health with
temporary discomfort) or will cause limited or insignificant
damage to properties < S$ 5,000 or

Environmental Assessment
Low (L) In terms of pollution, will cause limited or insignificant
environmental damage that can be undone without major cost
implications or impact is likely localised or
In terms of resource use, negligible use of resources or resource
type is renewable or not scarce or

Legal Considerations
Compliance with legal requirements

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Determination of Severity

Severity High Medium Low


Likelihood

High (H) Significant Significant Moderate

Medium (M) Significant Moderate Not Significant

Low (L) Moderate Not Significant Not Significant

Acceptability
Significance
of Impact / Improvement Actions
Rating
Risk
Not
Acceptable No further action required.
significant
Careful evaluation of the hazards / aspects should
be carried out to ensure that the risk / impact level is
reduced to as low as is practicable within a defined
Moderately time period.
Moderate To consider introducing engineering controls,
acceptable
administrative actions, operational control procedures
or take the aspects / hazards into account in the
setting of objectives and targets.

Significant Not Introduce engineering controls, administrative actions,


acceptable operational control procedures or take the significant
aspects / hazards into account in the setting of objectives
and targets.

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Annex B
Sample Risk Assessment for Common Activities Risk Assessment Form
Company: ABC Cleaning Company Conducted by:
Hiang Ah Guang, Supervisor
Process/Location: Cleaning Department (Names, designations)

Conducted on: Approved on:


Approved by: Low Bek Hong
16 Jan 2009 20 Jan 2009
(Names. Designation) Manager
Last Review Date: 20 Jan 2009 Next Review Date: 20 Jan 2011

Action
Activities/ Likelihood Severity
Existing EHS Impact / Risk Control Measures Risk Execution
No. Products/ EHS Aspect / Hazard EHS Impact / Consequence (High/Med/ (High/ Med/ Additional Impact / Risk Control Measures
(if any) Level Date (where
Services Low) Low)
applicable)
1. Sweeping Slip and fall Bodily injury slip and fall Stand 2 steps down during cleaning Occasional Moderate Medium
Clear obstructions
Avoid running
Wear non-slip safety shoes
Hit by falling objects Head injury Sweeping to commence at 6.30 am Occasional Major High Wear hard hat if risk of falling objects is high
Look for signs of high risk before starting work e.g. thrown objects
on floor and objects placed precariously on balconies
Step on sharp objects Foot injury Wear non-slip safety shoes Occasional Moderate Medium
Inhalation of dust Allergy / irritation from inhalation Wear dust mask Frequent Minor Medium Vacuum area instead of sweeping if very dusty
of dust Daily sweeping to minimise dust
Dont leave untied trash bags open for too long
Gently discard debris and litter by sweeping into dustpan and
emptying into trash bags or bins
Contact with animal excrement Worm infestation Wear impervious glove and non-slip impervious shoes Remote Moderate Low
2. Mopping of Slips and falls due Head and other bodily injuries Wear impervious gloves, non-slip safety shoes or boots Occasional Moderate Medium The waste water should be disposed into the gully at
floors to slippery surface / wet floors Signs to warn public of wet floor the wash area
No running or horse play on wet surfaces
Improper technique or excessive work Muscular injury Mop away from wet surface Occasional Minor Low Job rotation
duration Allow adequate rest breaks and set maximum work hours
High pressure Slip and fall due to slippery floor, hose Injury to body Wear non-slip rubber boots Occasional Moderate Medium Never horse play with the pressure jet
washing of and wires Never clean anyone with the high pressure jet
floors
Loose or improper connections or broken Electrocution Use waterproof industrial plug Ensure that the plug is in good working condition
wire Before commencement of work, check and ensure no naked wire to Switch off machine and turn off water supply
avoid electrocution immediately after washing
Hit by machine Never horse play with the pressure jet
Injured by high pressure jet water Always point the pressure jet gun away from the feet
during washing
4. Scrubbing of Spillage of chemical / acids Surface water pollution Use small quantity of mild acids dipped on rags during cleaning Low Medium Moderate Check SDS to ensure correct type of PPE. If mild acid
floor tiles Foot injury hit by machine Injury to body Containment tray used when pouring chemical is used hand gloves must be worn
Loose wiring- trip, fall and slip Skin dermatitis contact with Wear impervious gloves and non-slip rubber/plastic boots Mix the chemicals in the pail according to
chemicals Barricade and place signs manufacturers instruction
Only mild general purpose biodegradable
detergent are to be used
Assemble the equipment, check that cables, plugs
are in good working condition
Control the scrubbing machine close to your body
Arrange the wire properly and place it at the side
No horse play and running on wet surfaces
5. Refuse Hit by flying objects glass thrown down Eye injury hit by flying objects Clearing done before 12 pm Medium Medium Moderate Avoid working under the chute
collection from chute Finger injury cut by sharp objects At least 2 workers in a team Check Battery Operated Cart (BOC) daily and ensure
Hit by falling objects killer litter Body injury slip and fall PPE provided include non-slip rubber boots, face mask and impervious that battery water is topped up and safe for use
Finger cut by sharp objects Infection / illness contact with hand gloves Workers should observe personal hygiene, disinfect
Spillage of refuse pathogenic microbes Sweep and clean waste spilled during collection at chute and wash hands and bathe upon completion of task
Contact with waste Back injury wrong posture during Wash area with clean water Use tongs or broom if there is a need to pick up
Ergonomic lifting heavy objects lifting Cover rubbish bins with canvas sheets during transportation from any refuse
Air pollution nuisance odour. chute to bin centre
6. Clear cobweb Dust emission Air pollution Wear goggles and dust mask when cleaning cobwebs Low Medium Not Wear hat when clearing cobwebs
at ceiling and Dust / dirt falls into the eyes Eye infection significant
public lightings

Severity
Assessment Conducted by: Major Moderate Minor
Likelihood
Assessment Approved by:
Date of Assessment: Frequent High High Medium
Date of Next Review:
Occasional High Medium Low
Note: Review of Register is to be conducted once every three years or whenever there are changes in processes or work activities, whichever is earlier.
Remote Medium Low Low
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Annex C
Methodology of Impact / Risk Assessment
Determination of Likelihood

Ranking Criteria

High (H) Has happened (> 5 times / year) in the company


Has happened (between 1 to 5 times / year) in the company or
Medium (M)
Has happened in other companies in the same industry / business
Low (L) Has never happened (or less than 1 time / year) before

Determination of Severity

Ranking Criteria

Occupational Health and Safety Assessment


Fatal, serious injury or life-threatening occupational disease
(includes amputations. major fractures, multiple injuries,
occupational cancer, acute poisoning and fatal diseases) or will
cause very serious damage to properties > S$ 10,000 or

Environmental Assessment
High (H) In terms of pollution, will cause very serious environmental damage
directly attributable to company or impact is likely to affect off-site,
for e.g. the neighbourhood or community or
In terms of resource use, considerable use of resources and resource
type is non-renewable or scarce or

Legal Considerations
Major non-compliance with legal requirements.

Occupational Health and Safety Assessment


Injury requiring medical treatment or ill-health leading to
Medium (M) disability (includes lacerations, burns, sprains, minor fractures,
dermatitis, deafness, work-related upper limb disorders) or will
cause moderate damage to properties > S$ 5,000 but less than
S$ 10,000 or

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