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Leaders urge companies for Heightened Safety

Taken from Melvin Yong's Facebook post- Melvin is the Assistant Secretary-General and Director at National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)

[Companies must take immediate steps to strengthen workplace safety and health at the workplace]

In the past week alone, three different workplace fatalities were reported in the news, which involved two migrant workers and one Singaporean worker. My heart goes out to the families affected by such unfortunate accidents. The total number of workplace fatalities this year is now 36, just one short of last year’s total, despite repeated calls for employers and workers to take workplace safety more seriously and additional moves by the Government to penalise errant employers. This is a wakeup call for all companies and workers to act now to keep our workplaces safe as it is never too late to develop corrective and preventive measures to prevent future reoccurrences.

To that end, I was invited by SMRT to visit their Bishan Depot this morning to observe their workplace safety and health (WSH) efforts. I was heartened to learn that safety is an integral part of the SMRT DNA that starts from the top. SMRT Chairman Mr Seah Moon Ming and its Group CEO Mr Ngien Hoon Ping conduct regular visits to different premises of SMRT – during which, their teams listen with an open mind to promote the right safety thinking and behaviours among staff.

To cultivate a strong culture of WSH in the company, SMRT selected and trained staff and all 64 union leaders to become Safety Champions who will speak up and educate others when unsafe work practices are observed. All SMRT staff are also encouraged to take strong ownership of WSH by thinking out of the box and looking for new ways to improve WSH for both staff and commuters. This can be as simple as spotting and resolving tripping hazards like uneven metal grates on the floor. To ensure that SMRT can achieve best-in-class safety standards, SMRT also recently invited a safety expert to conduct a comprehensive review of their trains’ safety processes and systems and identify ways to strengthen WSH.

Management, workers and unions must work closely to bring down the number of workplace accidents and fatalities. NTUC calls on all companies, big or small, to take immediate steps to carry out a comprehensive appraisal of their risk assessment and enhance risk controls at the workplace. We also urge every company to set up a WSH committee involving management, workers and unions, to work together and proactively track, review, and enhance WSH measures.

#everyworkermatters #everylifematters #prioritiseWSH

Taken from Zaqy Mohamad's Facebook post

Starting today, Singapore Ministry of Manpower will introduce a “Heightened Safety” period over the next six month.

During which, we will expand our support for companies to better realign themselves with safety standards. We will also have tougher penalties to punish errant companies who continue to put safety on the back burner.

Safety standards have declined since the start of this year. We understand that as the economy recovers, many companies are catching up with project delays and adjusting to new work tempo. However, we must not do so at the expense of our workers’ safety.

MOM has stepped up inspections, imposed stiffer penalties and increased awareness and access to whistleblowing channels. But the rising fatalities have made it is clear that we need to do more.

On this, I call on company leaders to play an active role in nurturing a safety culture at your workplaces. Every worker has a right to a safe work environment. Let’s take this “Heightened Safety” period seriously and make the right change together.

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