Singapore:Workplace Safety And Health Risks Rise During Economic Slowdown

Workplace safety is likely to be a significant risk in Singapore for the year ahead, as companies feel the pressure to reduce expenditure on safety measures against the backdrop of a global economic slowdown, said AIG Asia Pacific.

Ms Debra Burford, AIG Singapore’s Head of Liabilities, said: “In the face of headwinds and fewer projects, we have seen that companies are facing increasing and unnecessary exposure in workplace safety and health, with less focus on safety measures and some firms even going against the law by not buying work injury insurance.”


Injuries on the rise

One concern she highlighted was the fact that major and minor injuries rose last year, according to Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute’s figures, even as there are continuing efforts by the manpower ministry to increase enforcement of safety rules and education programmes.


AIG Singapore’s claims data found that industries with greatest exposure to workplace injuries are marine and construction, followed closely by hospitality.

Focus on post-incident assistance

In the face of these growing risks, more companies are looking for an entire continuum of care for their employees, from pre- to post-incident assistance, rather than only providing support after something unforeseen happens, said the insurer.

Post-incident assistance and rehabilitation, in particular, are increasingly coming into focus as the probability of returning to work after an injury decreases with the amount of time spent away from work, with only 50% of workers returning to work after six months away, a figure with decreases to 25%  after one year. Thus rehabilitation services is one area which AIG focuses on, so employees can recover quickly and return to work.

The insurer forecasts that the proportion of companies helping employees manage their injuries will grow five times from the current 2% to 10-11% in the next five years, especially as employers realise the benefits of reduced costs, increased productivity and employee morale.

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