Minister of state for community development, youth and sports, Halimah Yacob, called on employers not to insist that domestic workers clean the outside of windows. She was responding to reporters’ questions about the seven maids who had fallen to their deaths so far this year while cleaning windows or hanging out the laundry.

Her words were reported in the Straits Times, Monday, April 23, 2012.

“They must constantly drum that into the maid’s head – that there’s no need for her to open the grilles, there’s no need for her to clean the outside of windows – and once they do that, they will be able to save a lot of lives,” the newspaper reported her as saying.

“It’s unnecessary death, and it’s really very sad.”

Referring to the fact that many domestic workers come from rural environments and are not used to high-rise living, she added: “Having to work in such high-rise buildings is quite a nightmare for them, so we need to take extra precautions to protect them, without compromising the standard and quality of work at home,” she said.

She also suggested that maids be barred from opening window grilles and for employers to keep the keys to these grilles from their maids.