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Singapore Tightens Rules on Maids Cleaning Windows After Deaths

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore, where 80 percent of the population lives in high-rise public housing, is toughening safety laws for maids cleaning windows after the number of work-related deaths more than doubled.

Employers whose maids clean windows above the ground floor must install grills and ensure they are locked when cleaning takes place, the Ministry of Manpower said in a statement today. The employer, or another adult, must be present when the cleaning is done, it said. The changes take effect immediately.

Nine maids have fallen to their deaths this year compared with four similar work-related deaths in all of last year, the ministry said. So-called foreign domestic workers in Singapore may not be used to high-rise living, the ministry said.

“The new rule will apply to all homes, except for windows that are at the ground level or along common corridors,” Minister of State Tan Chuan-Jin wrote in his blog on the rule changes. Maids “may sometimes be complacent or careless.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Sharon Chen in Singapore at schen462@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Linus Chua at lchua@bloomberg.net

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