Foreign Workers Trained In Safety To Get Longer Employment Period, Lower Levies From Oct

SINGAPORE: Foreign construction workers experienced in environment, health and safety will be able to get recognised as higher-skilled workers from October this year, said Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan on Wednesday (Jun 22).

Environment, health and safety workers typically carry out safety-related work at construction sites, like putting up barricades.

Once certified as higher-skilled R1 workers, they will be able to get a longer employment period of up to 22 years, and lower levies as compared to those from the basic skilled R2 workers category. R2 workers are only allowed employment of up to 10 years in Singapore.

The move is part of efforts to raise workplace safety and health (WSH) standards and productivity of the sector.

Mr Tan made the announcement at a seminar on construction safety, health and security on Wednesday.

On the benefits of the new measure, Mr Tan said: "Employers will also have greater flexibility in deploying these multi-skilled workers on site, reducing downtime and improving productivity.

"The sector's WSH standards and quality of the construction workforce in Singapore will naturally improve," he added. 

The certification will be implemented under the Building and Construction Authority (BCA)'s multi-skilling scheme.

To get recognised under the R1 category, these workers need at least six years of construction experience in Singapore and a Skills Evaluation Certificate (Knowledge). They must also either hold a WSQ Advanced Certificate in WSH, or have attended at least 120 hours of training in stipulated safety-related courses.

In the first half of 2016 alone, the construction sector has seen 17 cases of workplace fatalities, almost twice as many compared to the same period last year.

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