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Accidents in a Naval Dockyard
  1. C. P. Collins
  1. Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham, Kent


    The high incidence of accidents in H.M. Dockyard, Singapore, during 1954 led to a more detailed recording and analysis in 1955-56. The departmental accident rates per 1,000 workers were recorded, together with the circumstances of all injuries resulting in the loss of more than one shift (two per working day, lasting four and a half hours in the mornings and three and three-quarter hours in the afternoons).

    In the successive quarters of 1955, the numbers of accidents of all degrees of severity dropped steadily, but by 1956 they had levelled out at figures ranging from one-sixth to one-quarter of the original numbers. In 1956 the numbers of minor accidents reported were 44% of those for 1955, while cases requiring hospital treatment had fallen to 53·5%. This was balanced to some extent by an increase of trivial cases treated without loss of time by first aid in the workshops, but the total numbers still showed a reduction in the accident rate per 1,000 workers of 26·2%.

    Recording every possible form of accident for the year 1955, a rate of 2·38 accidents per 100 employee-months was obtained which differs markedly from rates published for industrial workers in Britain.

    The ethnic groups employed all showed a similar decrease in accident rates, but the reduction was noticeably greater among the Malays than the Chinese or Indians.

    Analysis by category of causation showed that the lower incidence was largely due to improvement in the categories of handling stores, using hand tools and power-driven machinery, but attention to the causes of eye injuries occasioned a reduction of only 5·2%.

    Analysis of time lost showed that the improvement in 1956 was due mainly to two groups. The number of persons experiencing accidents resulting in the loss of two shifts dropped to one-quarter of those found in 1955, while those losing seven shifts, who would in Britain require notification under the Factories Act, 1937, showed a reduction of exactly one-third.

    Accident rates were highest in Chinese and Indians between 26 and 35 years of age, but in Malays in the subsequent decade.

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