Set aside proper rest areas for workers at construction sites

There is no denying that much of modern Singapore's buildings of steel and concrete are built by foreign workers.

Yet, taking my son to school over the past few weeks, I saw workers from an adjacent construction site lying on the nearby five-foot-way, trying to find shade behind trees, and wearing sweaty clothes with socks full of holes, while empty food cartons and shoes were strewn on the walkway.

This stands in contrast to the spacious building on the construction site housing a swanky, fully air-conditioned showflat, with no one inside except for, maybe, a lone salesman on weekdays.

Some space should have been set aside in the building, perhaps behind the showflat, for use by these workers.

This resting space could be boarded up if necessary, to maintain the aesthetics of the adjoining showflat.

To afford the workers some privacy, the rest area could be equipped with a few ceiling fans, tables and a simple wash area.

Cost-wise, such basic provisions would not break the bank, when compared with the millions in profits that would eventually be reaped from the sale of the housing units.

More consideration should be shown for foreign workers' living and work conditions.

Daniel Ng Peng Keat (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2015, with the headline 'Set aside proper rest areas for workers at construction sites'. Print Edition | Subscribe