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Seven maids plummet to their deaths cleaning outside windows23rd of May 2012
Seven female cleaners have fallen to their deaths in Singapore this year while trying to clean exterior windows of high-rise buildings.
A Singapore minister has sent out urgent warnings to employers and insists that domestic staff should not be asked to clean the outside of windows in high-rise homes.
Maids in Singapore are often observed leaning out of windows or perching on window ledges to clean exterior windows, says Singapore's minister of state for community development Halimah Yacob.
"Employers should drum the message into their cleaners about being careful while cleaning windows," she said. "Once they do that I think we will be able to save a lot of lives."
She said many foreign domestic workers in Singapore come from rural villages and are unused to skyscrapers.? "Having to work in such high-rise buildings is quite a nightmare for them, so we need to take extra precautions to protect them without compromising the standard and quality of work at home," she said.
Yacob called for maids to be barred from opening window grilles and asked employers to keep charge of the keys to these grilles.
Meanwhile, Singapore's Ministry of Manpower has pledged to improve a compulsory half-day safety training class for newly-arrived maids which will become part of a new mandatory settling-in programme. The ministry will also prosecute employers who fail to provide their maids with a safe working environment.