Parliament: Manpower Ministry reviewing workplace safety laws

The review will cover three areas: enhancing deterrence against work site accidents, improving the industry's learning from such accidents, and raising of the maximum penalties.
The review will cover three areas: enhancing deterrence against work site accidents, improving the industry's learning from such accidents, and raising of the maximum penalties. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is reviewing the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

The exercise started earlier this year and the ministry aims to complete it by the end of the year, said Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan on Tuesday (Aug 1) in response to a Parliamentary question from labour MP Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC).

The review will cover three areas: enhancing deterrence against worksite accidents, improving the industry's learning from such accidents, and raising of the maximum penalties.

Mr Tan said regular reviews are conducted to keep the Act relevant.

His comments come after the collapse of a viaduct under construction at the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) last month that killed one worker and injured 10 workers.

More than 10 MPs asked parliamentary questions about the worksite accident at the sitting.

Responding to the questions on workplace safety checks and laws, Mr Tan said that fatalities from construction site accidents have fallen. There have been four deaths so far this year, compared to 24 last year and 27 in 2015.

He added that the MOM has tightened its enforcement checks at construction sites, and has conducted about 16,000 worksite inspections a year.

 

Besides checks, the ministry also has a demerit points system and a blacklisting regime, Mr Tan added.

Since 2015, the MOM has issued demerit points to 223 companies for safety violations. Among them, 25 were barred from hiring foreign workers until they improve their safety record.

In May last year, the MOM also enhanced the blacklisting regime for construction companies, said Mr Tan.

Companies are now blacklisted immediately after a worksite death occurs. Blacklisted companies are supervised by MOM closely until they have fixed their safety lapses.

Some 25 companies are now on the MOM blacklist.

Mr Tan said the ministry will continue to monitor developments and refine its regulatory framework, adding: "If there is a need to further tighten, we will continue to do so."

 

Related Stories: