Steward Hurt By Falling Bag Sues SIA

Source: The Straits Times, Wednesday 24 August 2011

A flight steward is suing Singapore Airlines (SIA) after his back was injured when a heavy bag toppled on him from an overhead luaggage compartment in the airplane which he was in service.

According to the news report, the steward filed civil lawsuit in the High Court and blamed the airline for failing to install safety measures such as a netting to stop baggage from falling out. The steward even accused the airline of being negligent, breaching its duty as an employer and contravening the Workplace Health and Safety Act.

It was reported that the steward’s injury took place as a passenger shoved his hand luaggage into the overhead compartment, causing a heavy bag that was already in there to fall out and hit onto him.

After the accident, the steward could not perform his duty and as his condition failed to improve, he underwent surgery on his spine five months later. He was paid only his monthly basic salary during these periods.

The case has been scheduled for pre-trial conference.

Our Thoughts:

The Workplace Safety and Health Act is an essential part to cultivate good safety habits in all individuals so as to engender a strong safety culture in the workplace. It requires stakeholders to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and heath of workers and other people that are affected by the work being carried out.

Four main key features of the Workplace Safety and Health Act:

  • Places the responsibility for workplace safety on all stakeholders along lines of control at the workplace
  • Focuses on Workplace Safety & Health systems and outcomes, rather than merely on compliance
  • Facilitates effective enforcement through the issuance of remedial orders
  • Prevent accidents at the source, it issues higher penalties for non-compliance and risky behaviour

For more information on The Workplace Safety & Health Act, please refer to the MOM website.