Public can flag safety lapses at construction sites

I have seen migrant workers toiling at construction sites with insufficient safety equipment and mere half-hearted attempts to follow safety regulations.

They are outdoors in the haze for the whole day without wearing N95 masks. Some deal with loud machinery without ear plugs or ear muffs. Cotton gloves are drastically lacking to protect those using heavy drilling equipment.

As such works take place in public areas, members of the public can help to flag these safety breaches to the authorities.

A tip-off by a member of the public need not immediately result in heavy punitive measures; mere notice should suffice for first-time offenders.

Construction firms should not see this as a measure to make things difficult for them, but as a form of assistance to help them take care of their workers, who can then continue to work safely for them in the long run.

Migrant workers make an invaluable contribution to our society. It is unfortunate to see them working in ways which may cause them health problems in the long run.

Employers owe their employees a duty of care. There is a minimum standard that should be met, and members of the public may be useful in helping to enforce this.

Leonard Chua Jun Yi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2015, with the headline 'Public can flag safety lapses at construction sites'. Print Edition | Subscribe