SMEs must improve safety standards
As quoted by Manpower Minister Tan See Leng - Smaller construction firms and projects need to improve workplace safety standards, this coming after a “worrying spike" in workplace fatalities. Minister of Manpower Tan See Leng was speaking at an event on 23 June 2022. The even was the launch of a workplace safety and health (WSH) campaign by the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL). Minister of Manpower Tan See Leng reminded participants that there had been 27 workplace deaths in 2022 so far.
This figure is about close to double that for the year 2019. Dr Tan continued that among the 27 deaths, 10 were in construction. And of the 10, six were from smaller construction firms or projects.
“My exhortation to everyone is that we must not leave out such firms and must work hard to engage them to improve their WSH standards too,” said Dr Tan. “We must make sure we do everything we can to prevent the loss of lives and make sure that our workers can return home safely to their loved ones.”
The Minister said “We must constantly do better, and the Ministry will continue to support you and work with you on this journey of continuous improvement, because lives are at stake here.”
Manpower Minister also mentioned that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has taken stronger enforcement actions and introduced stiffer penalties against errant employers. MOM will also be looking at other actions such as disqualifying contractors with poor practices. MOM will also review the current demerit points system for breaches under the WSH Act or Regulations, he added.
In other words, potentially, safer construction companies will have better business opportunities. The unsafe firms will be disqualified from competing with these safer companies for government contracts, or will have a tougher time getting foreign manpower because they have more demerit points,” said the minister.
Manpower Minister also mentioned that MOM will be reviewing the coverage of WSH personnel such as WSH auditors, officers and coordinators to improve the level of oversight for workplace safety.
Dr Tan called on firms and employers to innovate and use technology to further improve safety.