But 57-year-old shipyard worker V Anbazhaga was given just 1 day of medical leave from work and 3 months of light duties by an orthopardic doctor at a well-known private hospital.
Anbazhaga says his boss never reported.
The India national said that since there were no light duties available, he found himself on a Special Pass and was unable to work.
Anbazhaga has since engaged a laywer to pursue injury compensation.
Social worker and former HOME executive director Jolovan Wham said the group sees a few dozen cases each year where workers are given little medical leave despite suffering serious injuries.
He said the doctors involved are usually from private clinics and hospitals.
Mr Wham said if the worker receives a medical certificate (MC) of three days or less, or was hospitalised for less than 24 hours, the employer need not report the accident to the Manpower Ministry.
The employer, he said, can also keep his safety record clean and also avoid higher insurance premiums in the future.
In May this year, the court suspended Raffles Hospital orthopaedic surgeon Wong Him Choon for 6 months, following an appeal by the Singapore Medical Council.
Dr Wong had operated on construction worker Fan Mao Bing’s broken hand in 2011, but gave the Chinese national just two days’ medical leave and certified him fit for light duties for a month after that.
Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) committee member Debbie Fordyce said she has seen cases where workers recovering from serious injuries were kept on site and given light tasks.
One example, she said, was a worker who had surgery to remove part of his skull, but was told to dispense equipment to his colleagues.
Another worker’s leg had been crushed by a forklift, but he was left in an office despite being “too sick to even sit”.