Leadership programme next year for workplace safety and health managers

A new programme to groom workplace safety and health (WSH) managers was launched on Thursday.
A new programme to groom workplace safety and health (WSH) managers was launched on Thursday.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A new programme to groom workplace safety and health (WSH) managers for regional leadership positions was launched on Thursday (Nov 5) by the labour movement and its WSH training partner.

The WSH Leadership programme was announced by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) U Associate and the Singapore Institution of Safety Officers (Siso) at the latter's 13th Annual Workplace Safety and Health Officers Conference.

The year-long course, which starts next year with an inaugural cohort of 50 WSH officers in middle management, is meant to equip participants with skills such as how to negotiate with senior executives, or crisis and change management.

Participants, who should be registered as safety officers with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and have at least eight years' experience in the field, can get course subsidies of 45 per cent from the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).

NTUC assistant secretary-general Yeo Guat Kwang said: "Professionals in the WSH industry have highly developed technical expertise to face challenges in the workplace, but they may need higher level leadership and soft skills needed to take on management positions in their organisations."

Siso president Seet Choh San said he hoped the programme could provide safety officers with a "clearly defined career progression pathway" that will attract more to the profession, and also allow them to remain employable in the face of regional competition.

Ms Jasmine Nah, a health and safety regional manager at engineering firm Aurecon, said she would consider taking up the course for networking opportunities and to learn how to better engage her superiors.

Said the 42-year-old: "It's always been quite hard for me to reach people at the top level, but I know it's very important because workplace safety must be driven by these people and flow down to the rest of the organisation."

NTUC secretary-general Chan Chun Sing, the conference's guest of honour, spoke in a dialogue about the need to improve workplace safety culture, relying not just on rules and checklists but also on instinct to keep workers safe.

Said Mr Chan: "Machines can only be safer if the man behind the machine has the correct mindset. Methods cannot replace vigilance; they must not be a crutch."

oliviaho@sph.com.sg