Companies organise walkabouts to create awareness on stopping workplace falls

SINGAPORE - At the Park Hotel Alexandra, all kitchen staff have tissue in their pockets, for an important reason, to help prevent falls.

Mr Kenneth Cheong, 28,the hotel's food and beverages executive, reminded them why at a daily operations briefing at The Carvery restaurant on Tuesday (April 25) .

"Everyone has a piece of tissue in their pocket to clean the spill quickly so that no one slips," he said.

The Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council has addressed falling as one of the top workplace killers at the Programme-based Engagement Plus Forum earlier this month.

National WSH statistics show that slips, trips and falls are key contributors of major and minor injuries at workplaces overall, across all industries.

Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) statistics show that in 2016 there were 39 major injuries and 1,072 minor injuries in the hotel and accommodation services industry, and also in the food and beverages services industry combined.

In conjunction with the annual WSH campaign, Target Zero Falls, launched on April 22, more than 100 companies will be taking part in a Senior Management Workplace Safety and Health Walkabout in hopes of further preventing falls at work.

Park Hotel Alexandra is one of the participating companies this year. The hotel, which opened its doors to guests in June 2015, was recently awarded the bizSAFE Level Star Award, the highest achievable level of workplace safety and health commitment, from the WSH Council.

The guest of honour, Mr Sam Tan, told the kitchen staff: "Since this hotel is fairly new, it is good to establish safety right from the start and to cultivate a work safety culture."

Mr Tan, the Minister of State for Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Manpower, also observed the industry's good practices to stop falls at work, such as non-slip floors.

From Monday (April 24) to Saturday (April 29), participating companies are organising their own walkabouts in which the senior management is expected to observe work activities, check for fall hazards, and inculcate a mindset that accidents, especially falls, can be avoided.

"When the senior management places an emphasis on workplace safety, the workers will take it seriously too," said Mr Tan.

Workplace walkabouts are a common practice, said Mr Patrick Han, executive director of the WSH Council, but it is important to synchronise them across the country to place a greater emphasis on the commitment of workers when it comes to understanding workplace safety and health.