Safety among foreign workers and impact on emergency medicine services in Singapore

Singapore Med J. 2006 Feb;47(2):121-8.


Introduction: This article aims to study work-related injuries through the eyes of the foreign workers and correlate the findings with their perception of job safety and their level of training received.

Methods: A prospective questionnaire-based survey was conducted between April and October 2002 in the Emergency Department of a secondary level hospital. 285 consecutive foreign workers with work-related injuries were enrolled.

Results: The majority of the foreign workers were of Asian origin, male, and 20-30 years of age. 66 percent had prior working experience. 83 percent of those surveyed rated the safety training received as "just enough" or better. There was a positive correlation between job skills and safety training (rs equals 0.733). 82 percent said that safety equipment were available, though only one-half made use of them. 67 percent of the injured received some form of first aid at scene, mainly bandaging. 17 percent did not receive any first aid because of lack of equipment or first aid training. The two most common injuries were wounds to the limbs (33.2 percent) and foreign body (FB) entry into the eyes (17.7 percent). Correspondingly, toilet and suture and removal of FB in the eye were the two most common procedures done.

Conclusion: In this study, the foreign workers generally felt that the safety and work skills training were adequate. However, there are some problems that still need to be addressed.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • First Aid
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health
  • Occupational Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Transients and Migrants / education
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / ethnology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*