Launch of observatory to study workplace safety and health trends

SINGAPORE - Long-term hazards at work must be identified and addressed so as to keep the country's labour force safe and healthy, said Dr Amy Khor at the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute Forum on Wednesday.

"Most of us will think about the immediate and obvious hazards around us, for example, a wet and slippery floor... but we need to better anticipate and prepare ourselves for future risks," added the Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health.

To detect dangers early, the think tank has launched an observatory to study new and emerging WSH risks.

Called the Observatory for WSH Landscape (OWL), its purpose is to help decision makers improve policies and direct resources by analysing information and trends, said Dr Khor.

Currently, OWL is trying to reduce the number of cases of cancer and non-malignant respiratory diseases here that may be associated with construction work. It is also studying the use of predictive modelling in preventing injuries at high-risk worksites.

Meanwhile, workplace deaths fell last year from 73 in 2013 to 60, dropping by 17.8 per cent. It is a record low rate of 1.8 deaths per 100,000 employees.

"While this may seem like good progress, we must not forget the 60 workers who were killed last year and the grief and loss that their families will suffer for the rest of their lives," said Dr Khor.