More SMEs recognised for workplace safety excellence this year

More SMEs have been recognised for their workplace safety and health practices this year.
More SMEs have been recognised for their workplace safety and health practices this year. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - More small and medium enterprises were recognised for their workplace safety and health practices at the bizSafe convention on Wednesday (Feb 17).

Close to 40 awards were given out at the annual convention held by the Workplace Safety and Health Council and the Manpower Ministry, which recognises SMEs as well as their business partners and employees for championing workplace health and safety.

This is the highest number since the awards were started in 2012. Last year, 23 awards were presented.

More than 800 participants attended the convention, held at Max Atria at the Singapore Expo.

The guest of honour was Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck. He said: "Based on my experience engaging with SMEs, I found that often SMEs are reluctant to make changes to their day-to-day operations. They find it overwhelming to change existing methods and put new systems in place.

"However, once they overcome these barriers, they realise that the rewards from improving work processes are well worth the effort."

He said SMEs could now tap the Capability Development Grant, a financial assistance grant from Spring Singapore, to defray up to 70 per cent of the costs of getting certified through the bizSafe programme. These costs could range from between $5,000 and $8,000.

Citing the nine fatal workplace accidents that happened just last month, Mr Teo said the importance of risk management could not be overemphasised.

"The nine workers are not mere numbers; they are someone's child, spouse, parent and co-worker. The unnecessary loss of lives could have been prevented if proper risk management and adequate control measures had been put in place."

One company recognised this year was Techgems Engineering and Construction, which was given an Exemplary award for initiatives such as investing in suction excavators to pull up debris and toxic gases without damaging underground features.

These also make the work process 16 times faster, significantly reducing overall project costs.

Previously, the company's workers performed the excavation manually, risking damaging buried features such as underground cables, as well as exposing the workers to toxic gases.