Working On Workplace Safety

In a business environment dictated by numerous challenges and changes, many organisations continue to deliberate on the changing nature of jobs and the need to continuously raise productivity in the workplace.

The emergence of new disruptive technologies also creates more complex challenges for businesses.

Furthermore, organisations have to pay equal attention to the important aspect of workplace safety and health (WSH).

Many organisations have become more aware of WSH and they are making strides in enhancing and creating healthy and sustainable workplaces.

The five-step bizSAFE programme, conceptualised and implemented by the Workplace Safety and Health Council, can be credited for this progress.


Many private sector organisations, including the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA), worked with a variety of stakeholders to deliver on these gains in WSH.

A central tenet of workplace safety is that it is everyone's responsibility and in their interest to make further improvements.

The chief executive is as responsible as a rank-and-file employee in setting and executing the direction on how safe practices should be implemented, practised, documented and improved on a continuing basis.

Going by current evidence, there is still room to do more.

Last year, 66 workers died on the job.

In its periodic updates, the Ministry of Manpower continues to voice its concerns about workplace fatalities.

Singapore managed to lower the fatality rate from 2.8 per 100,000 workers in 2008 to 1.8 in 2014. But it rose to 1.9 in 2015 and stayed the same for last year.

The goal for stakeholders is to lower this rate.

Within this context, it does not help that the current weaker economic environment puts greater pressure on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - compared with larger multinationals and organisations - to raise WSH standards.

When revenues taper off with no corresponding cut in business costs, it seems inevitable that resources on WSH tend to take a back seat.

It is no wonder that the WSH Council introduced a pilot programme in 2015 to help more than 350 SMEs in metalworking and manufacturing to improve workplace safety.

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