Labour movement urges employers to care for workers amid worsening air quality

A foreign worker wearing a mask while working at the Stamford Grandstand along Nicoll highway at about 5pm on Monday, Sept 14, 2015.
A foreign worker wearing a mask while working at the Stamford Grandstand along Nicoll highway at about 5pm on Monday, Sept 14, 2015. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - As air quality in the Republic worsens, the labour movement has urged employers to take special care of their employees.

In a statement on Monday, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) reminded employers to "step-up vigilance amid the current haze situation and ensure that the welfare of their workers is not compromised for any reasons".

At 6pm on Monday, the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index - a measure of air quality here - ranged between 119 and 147, in the unhealthy range.

"Employers are reminded to continually assess haze-related risks and adopt appropriate measures to safeguard the safety and health of their workers, especially those whose work requires them to be outdoors for a majority of the time," said NTUC's director for workplace safety and health secretariat Yeo Guat Kwang.

Mr Yeo, who is also chairman of the Migrant Workers' Centre, added that while good workplace safety and health practices should be an everyday affair, employers have a duty to ensure all necessary precautions are taken to minimise risks posed by haze exposure during this period.

"Discretion should be exercised when deploying workers outdoors, such as ensuring that the appropriate protective gears are issued for outdoor work," he said.

Workers were also urged to exercise self-care, by ensuring they correctly wear protective gears issued to them.

The NTUC also encouraged employers and workers to monitor the situation closely and be alert for any advisories issued by the relevant authorities.