Safety planning must be part of industry culture

More can be done to reduce conflicts, enhance workplace safety and prevent accident recurrence ("Concern over rising workplace deaths"; May 25).

Due to a competitive market in the construction industry, many companies forgo environment, health and safety aspects during the tendering stage, and hope to decide on these later.

Hence, tender specifications have to include safety provisions.

Prior to the commencement of work, a risk assessment must be conducted and control measures derived, communicated and supported. If there are concerns regarding these control measures, then the project should be halted or even delayed.

Workplace safety and health officers can be deployed to ensure that the measures are carried out safely and thoroughly.

At the same time, top management must walk the talk and be committed to achieving high standards of workplace safety. It must approve the risk assessment and set aside part of the budget for control measures.

Prevention is important. There can be workshops and TV advertisements to educate all contractors and further enhance their understanding and awareness of workplace safety.

All supervisors, assessors and managers have to undergo refresher training courses to ensure they have sufficient and adequate knowledge to lead their teams.

The recommended interval for refresher training is once every four years, but all site staff should undergo training if a stop-work order is issued.

In the long term, every company should pick up skills to develop a business continuity plan, including a safety plan, as well as plans for executing work, inspections, maintenance and reviews, and to cope with unexpected occurrences such as structure collapses.

Our Government and the various stakeholders need to have a mindset shift and cultural change in order to continually improve workplace safety.

Han Wenqi