Among the recommendations, there was a focus on inculcating a more pervasive training culture, beyond foundational training, and levelling up WSH practices.
Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has accepted the eight key recommendations proposed by the International Advisory Panel (IAP) on strengthening workplace safety and health (WSH).
Bringing together industry experts to provide ground insights from their respective industries, the eighth IAP convened from 17 to 19 January 2023, and was held in conjunction with the second Multi-Agency Workplace Safety Taskforce (MAST) meeting.
MOM has acknowledged the "spate of workplace fatalities" in 2022, attributing them largely due to basic safety lapses, such as inadequate safety planning and control measures, and non-compliance with safety measures. Thus, the recommendations aim to reduce workplace incidents, mitigate the WSH risks arising from climate change and green technology, and guide MOM and its stakeholders towards achieving Singapore's 'WSH 2028' goal — this includes sustained reduction in workplace injury rates, minimising hazards that lead to occupational disease, promoting good workforce health and pervasive adoption of the Vision Zero culture.
To attain a sustainable WSH culture, stakeholders must have both the motivation – be it commercial, reputational or personal interests – as well as the knowledge to do so. As such, the IAP recommended the following:
- Placing strong emphasis on top management’s responsibility for WSH. Top management must foster a 'safe operations' culture where safety considerations are embedded into all aspects.
- Extending WSH oversight to contractors in the whole supply chain.
- Bringing interest of business into greater alignment with WSH.
- Building workplaces where workers feel safe to speak up.
At the same time, the IAP recognised the need to strengthen the knowledge and awareness of stakeholders to better manage WSH risks. It also recommended:
- Inculcating a more pervasive training culture, beyond foundational training and levelling up WSH practices.
- Improving WSH know-how of small-to-medium enterprises.
- Promoting age-friendly workplace safety practices and designs.
- Pre-emptively addressing WSH risks arising from climate change and green technology.
Having accepted these recommendations, MOM will study the details and work with stakeholders as well as sectoral agencies to implement appropriate measures for employers and workers.
Minister of Manpower Dr. Tan See Leng also affirmed in a Facebook post: "There were eight key recommendations aimed at driving stronger motivation for companies and workers to embrace WSH, and equipping them with the know-how to do so. We need top management to take responsibility for WSH, and must build workplaces where workers feel safe to speak up, has age-friendly safety practices and design, and has a pervasive training culture."
Lead image / Dr.Tan See Leng Facebook post