Forum: Everyone has a part to play in workplace safety

We refer to the letter, "Ensure safety timeouts are useful learning opportunities" (June 4) by Mr Lim Boon Khoon.

Workplace safety and health (WSH) is always a shared responsibility and requires a multi-layered approach to minimise workplace accidents.

The Ministry of Manpower conducts inspections, takes enforcement actions, and engages workers and employers to ensure WSH is taken seriously.

The recent safety timeout is another way to give strong emphasis to reviewing the risk assessment and safety control measures.

It also reinforces the focus on WSH, as pointed out by Mr Lim.

In addition, one important element of an effective safety timeout is the demonstration of commitment and urgency by company leadership. When workers see that their leaders and supervisors are serious in pursuing WSH, they are more likely to engage in safe work behaviours on the ground.

But beyond safety timeouts, which are only occasionally called for, preventing accidents requires everyone to do their part continuously.

Workers must adhere to safe work procedures and report lapses to their supervisors. Supervisors in turn must ensure that safety measures are in place before work starts and that safety lapses are rectified in a timely manner.

Company management must also take the lead in developing a strong WSH culture.

This can be done by providing resources for supervisors and workers to improve awareness and adopt safe practices, and thoroughly reviewing their safety protocols. These are demonstrations of taking WSH ownership.

The Government will continue to reinforce this ecosystem and introduce measures to further improve WSH, such as the recently announced plans to place more accountability on company management, through an upcoming Approved Code of Practice for Company Directors' WSH Duties.

With the support of all stakeholders, we will work towards building a sustainable WSH culture in Singapore.

Silas Sng
Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health
Ministry of Manpower

Christopher Koh
General Manager
Workplace Safety and Health Council

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