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Seminar 9

Health and Safety at Work

The Workplace Safety and Health
Prior Legislation - Factories Act
since 1958.
Current Legislation - WSHA since
Since September 2011, all
workplaces are covered, other than
domestic premises.

The Workplace Safety and Health Act
More persons owe duties under the
WSHA as compared to the former
Factories Act and these include:
Occupiers (section 11)
Employers (section 12)
Employees (section 15)
Manufacturers/Suppliers of certain types
of machinery (section 16)

WSHA - Liability
WSHA only creates criminal liability; ie: it does not
create civil liability.

If the injured person wants to institute a civil claim,
he has to either (a) or (b) .

Unlike the former Factories Act which only had very
specific duties, under the WSHA, there is a also a
more general duty (to take reasonably practicable
measures). Is this better?

Unlike under the former Factories Act, now liability
can be based on risk alone without there being any
accident. Is this better?

R v Board of Trustees of Science Museum
The board of trustees of a museum were charged with an
offence when health and safety inspectors found a certain
bacteria which could cause a rare form of pneumonia, in the
water of the air-cooling system.
The prosecution did not prove that the bacteria had actually
escaped from the air-cooling system.
Nonetheless the court held that there
was a risk that it could and that was
sufficient to impose liability.
WSHA - Liability
In relation to criminal liability:
Can contributory negligence or recklessness of
an employee be a defence?
Can delegation of duty be a defence?

Delegation of Duty
Civil - Negligence
Criminal - WHSA
Who is an occupier?
In relation to factories this refers to the person who
has the registration certificate/factory permit.
In relation to other premises this refers to the
person who is in charge, management or control of
those premises.
Under section 11, the occupier has the duty to take
reasonably practicable measures.
In deciding whether reasonably practicable measures
have been taken, may have to balance with .
Duty is owed to all persons (ie: need not be his
- eg: accident occurs to a NUS employee using a fast
food outlet at NUS - who could be liable?

R v Lightwater Valley Ltd
An accident occurred in a fair ground due to the
lack of care on the part of the appellant company.
The appellant company was
held criminally liable for the
injuries suffered by 3 members
of the public who had used a
particular device interestingly
known as the Hell Slide.
Under section 12 the employer
has a duty to take reasonably
practicable measures.
This duty is owed to his
employees and others affected
by his undertaking.
Under section 15, among other
things, an employee can be
criminally liable if:
If he acted willfully or negligently
and thereby endangered the safety
and health of himself or others or
failed to use protective equipment
provided etc.-

WSHA Other Matters
Under the WSHA, some prescribed workplaces
may have to have safety
officers/committees/etc and MOM may
require these companies to send their officers
for training courses.

Also note: the Commissioner has the power to
issue remedial/stop orders in relation to
breaches of the WSHA.
Breach of such an order is also an offence.

WSHA Other Matters
There are increased penalties (up to $0.5m)
for a contravention of the WSHA compared to
a contravention of the Factories Act.

Also note: if company is criminally liable,
officer in charge could also be criminally liable
(section 48(1)) if he did not exercise due

Note also: two are more people can be
responsible for the same accident/risk.

Work Injury Compensation
Applies to all employees except some, such as members of
the Singapore Armed Forces, Police Force and Domestic
Once covered, does it matter whether the employee is a
foreigner or a part-timer?
Compensation payable irrespective of fault on the part of the
- Eg: drunk driver knocks into delivery man who is delivering and
injures him can the delivery man claim WIC from his
What if the employee dies? Who can claim compensation?
Employers must take out compulsory insurance.
- Failure to do so is an offence.
- But there is a wide exception: need not have insurance if
employee is earning more than $1600 - unless he is a
Employers cannot contract out of liability to pay WIC.
For there to be liability under WIC:
For there to be liability:
(1) Under section 3, there must be
personal injury by accident (ie:
something unexpected) arising out
of and in the course of
employment or
(2) Under section 4, there must be an
occupational disease.

Section 3
Arising out of : means there must be a link
between the accident and the employment
- eg: van driver meets with a traffic accident.
What if the accident is due to natural
What if an employee is injured during an
What if an employee slips and falls in the
office because the floor is wet?

NTUC Income Insurance v Next of Kin of Narayasamy
The employee was a coach driver.
He was helping cabin crew load luggage into
the coach.
Suddenly he felt breathless and was rushed to
the hospital where he died.
Can his estate claim WIC ie is there a link?
Re Narasmah Decd
Employee was working in a
She was struck by lightning.
Could she claim WIC ie was there a
Section 3
In the course of employment:
means must have occurred within
the scope or sphere of employment.
Eg: van driver takes his family out for
supper after duty and meets with a
traffic accident.
But note: the term course of
employment has been interpreted
widely by cases.

Weaver v Tredegar
A mans work does not consist solely in the
task which he is employed to perform; it
includes also matters incidental to that task.
Times during which meals are taken, moments
during which the man is proceeding towards
his work from some portion of the employers
premises to another, and periods of rest may
all be included.
Are these in the course of
employment ?
(a) Travelling to work.
(b) Going for a meal within the workplace.
(c) Going for a meal outside the workplace.
(d) Resting at home after work.
(e) Resting in a hotel during an overseas
Section 4
Under section 4(1), if an employee catches certain
occupational diseases (listed in the 2
Schedule to
WICA) in the course of certain jobs or within certain
time frames after leaving those jobs, he may also be
able to claim WIC.

Section 4
Further, under section 4(1A), even if a disease
is not listed in the 2
Schedule to the WICA,
the employee may still be able to claim if the
disease is directly attributable to an exposure,
arising out of and in the course of
employment, to a chemical or biological
No liability if accident occurred because of
influence of alcohol or drugs.

No liability for personal injury arising out of
deliberate acts. It is also an offence to make a
claim in such an instance.

But note: still liable even if employee is
careless or reckless. Why is this so?
Notice and Claim
Generally claim must be brought
within 1 year.

Can either get work injury
compensation or go to court and sue
for negligence.

Cannot seek both remedies.

Maximum No Maximum
Current medical expenses: limit No limit
Future medical expenses: cannot Can claim
Pain and suffering: cannot claim Can claim
Time Limit: 1 year 3 years

Lawyers: Less likely to be involved More likely
Process: Less costly More costly
Employer: Need not be at fault Must be at fault

Amount of WIC Payable
For death or permanent total disability:
it is the loss of monthly earnings
multiplied by an appropriate factor
based on age of employee.
However, there is a limit of $170,000 in
the case of death and $218,000 in the
case of permanent total disability.

An employee aged 20 died in an
accident arising out of and in the
course of employment.

How much WIC can his
dependants get assuming his
monthly salary is:

(a) $1000
(b) $2000

Amount of WIC Payable
If permanent partial disability : it
is a slightly different formula but
this too cannot exceed $218,000.
Note difference between
permanent total and
permanent partial disability.

Amount of WIC Payable
If temporary disability:
- 14 days paid sick leave if not hospitalized,
- 60 days if hospitalized.
Further, if disability continues after that; can still
claim compensation amounting to:
- 2/3s of monthly salary for 1 year or
- until disability ends, whichever is earlier.
Eg: if hospitalized for 80 working days and returns
to work after that, how much can the employee

Medical Expenses
If employee is injured in the course of work,
employer must send him for medical examination
and bear medical expenses including hospitalisation
However, there is a limit:
- It is either the cost involved for 1 year after the
accident or $30,000 per accident, whichever is lower.
Eg: $29,000 (2013); $4000 (2014).
How much medical expenses can be claimed
assuming the accident occurred right at the
beginning of 2013.

Injury at Work
Negligence WIC
WSHA covers certain premises. Employers operating in
those premises, have a duty to take reasonable measures
to ensure the safety of employees and others.
Breach of the WSHA creates only criminal liability and
not civil liability.
In addition to the employer, others such as employees
could also be criminally liable under the WSHA in certain
Where injury results at work, Work Injury Compensation
may be payable, if certain conditions are satisfied.
The employee concerned can either claim Work Injury
Compensation or sue in negligence. He cant claim both
and get double compensation.
Basic Text: (7.4-7.5, 7.21-7.22, 7.26-7.27, 7.28,
7.44-7.45, 7.54-7.57, 7.62, 7.66, 7.69, 7.71,
7.75, 7.77, 7.79, 7.103, 7.114-7.124, 7.131-
7.132, 7.141-7.150, 7.161, 7.164, 7.166,
7.169-7.172, 7.183, 7.201-7.202, 7.230-
7.231,7.235-7.237, 7.241, 7.247-7.248).