Workplace safety and health initiatives awarded

SINGAPORE - Eight companies and five individuals were commended for workspace safety and health initiatives at the inaugural U Safe award ceremony on Tuesday.

A cluster award was also presented to the oil, petrochemical, energy and chemical industry by Mr Chan Chun Sing, deputy secretary general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

With more older workers staying employed, it is particularly important to emphasise safety in the workplace, said Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, director of workplace safety and health secretariat at NTUC.

Workplace safety and health initiatives must be celebrated because "when an accident happens, it is usually too late," he added.

Operations manager Goh Lai Leong, 61, was given the Star Award for organising a health screening, conducted by the Health Promotion Board and Singapore Polytechnic, for some 100 cleaners in his company Ramky Cleantech Services.

During the event last September, cleaners were advised how to maintain their posture when they go about their job. They were also given free check-ups for their eyes and ears.

Mr Goh said: "Most of our workers are (old) and they may not know where to get check-ups. It was useful to have the screenings for them in one place."

Another recipient, Mr Mohd Ismail Meerasah, 58, alerted his company's management to choked filters in 2013. The drop in air quality resulted in a spike in the number of employees taking sick leave. Since then, the company has stepped up in its efforts to check the filters.

At Sembwaste, which was given an corporate award during the ceremony, cameras were installed in their heavy vehicles in 2014 to maintain safety on the roads. Safety materials were also translated from English to Chinese and Malay so that drivers could better understand the company's standard operating procedures.

Mr Yeo said: "It is heartening to see rising commitment and passion... As workers' understanding of safety increase, they want to participate and ensure that they have a healthy and safe working environment."