With the 2014 statistics now out on the Ministry of Manpower’s website, a steady rise in workplace injuries can be seen through the five-year period 2010 to 2014. Here are the key numbers:
These figures are shown in the bar chart below:
It is not clear how “major injuries” are determined and differentiated from “minor injuries”. A further complication is that the 2013 and 2014 data include work-related traffic accidents (fatal, major and minor). Nevertheless, the upward trend is notable.
However, since the total number of persons employed has also grown, MOM provides a better measure of workplace safety in the form of “Rate per 100,000 employed persons”. Using this metric, a different picture appears: the situation has remained largely stable over the years.
Since the great majority of injury cases seen by TWC2 come from the construction and marine sectors, the graph below shows the figures relating to these two sectors.
It is also possible to pick up from MOM’s Work Safety and Health annual reports some basic numbers regarding WICA case conclusions. Here is a table of the numbers:
In 2014, the average sum awarded per case was $17,569.
What is striking is how, while the number of awards for death and permanent incapacity has remained roughly within a 10% range of 4,200 – 4,600 per year, the number of cases judged not to have resulted in permanent incapacity has risen by 30.4% from 7,764 in 201o to 10,126 in 2014. It is not clear why.
It would be more helpful if finer-grained data is provided, such as:
(a) the number of WICA claims that have been ruled to be non-work-related;
(b) the number of WICA claims lodged, then withdrawn in favour of the “common law” route. (One hopes that these withdrawn cases were not mixed up with the “no permanent incapacity” numbers);
(c) the number of awarded cases and sums wherein the injured worker did not receive full payment (e.g. employer or insurer did not pay out);
(d) the number of employers prosecuted for not paying up within the stipulated time frame.