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Preliminary findings from a study of workplace injuries and ill-health in 2011 reveal that slightly more than half of total costs fall on workers themselves, when quantified into dollar terms. Since low-wage foreign workers tend to be the ones doing the dangerous jobs, they suffer injuries and ill-health disproportionately. Now they — the least able to bear the costs — are shown to be the ones burdened with much of them.
The report was produced by the Ministry of Manpower-linked Workplace Safety and Health Institute (WSH Institute). Strangely, the preliminary report (click thumbnail) does not provide any figure as to the number of injuries or work-related illnesses.
The report notes that only the human cost has been factored into this study. The cost of property damage, and human pain and suffering, have not been taken into account.
Economic costs are divided into three categories:
The study found that, excluding lifetime costs, “the cost for work injuries and ill health sustained for 2011 is estimated [to be] $2.62 billion, with employers bearing 88.2% of cost, employees 9.5% and the community 2.3%.”
However, when future lifetime costs are included, “the total cost of work injuries and ill health is estimated to be SGD$10.45 billion. The costs borne by different economic agents were estimated to be: SGD$2.31 billion (22.1%) by employers; SGD$5.28 billion (50.5%) by workers, and SGD$2.87 billion (27.4%) by the community.”
The study did not contain any recommendation for policy changes.
TWC2 is an organization that is dedicated to assisting low-wage migrant workers when they are in difficulty. We are motivated by a sense of fairness and humanity, though our caseload often exceeds our