Forum: When leaders are passionate about workplace safety, workers benefit

My heart hurts to read that there were more workplace fatalities in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2021, despite a drop in total injuries (Construction industry accounted for most workplace deaths in first half of 2022, Sept 16).

The gazetting of a code of practice in October is thus welcome news (Workplace safety code for bosses to be gazetted, Sept 20).

Toolbox talks must be the norm before the start of work every morning to sharpen awareness of unsafe issues and conditions, prioritise worker well-being, demonstrate genuine respect for workers and create an environment in which workers feel welcome, safe, seen and heard.

When people feel cared for, safety becomes something that everyone understands and is proud to be part of.

Worth emulating are the Land Transport Authority's weekly planned general inspections, as well as the Japanese "safety first" priority which involves risk analysis while also stressing a neat and orderly work environment.

Regulatory agencies should continue doing what they know will best protect workers, and strive to realise zero incidents and zero health impact.

They should help contractors more effectively identify and address hazards and risks that may exist within the work sites, bringing a greater focus to overall worker safety as well as health. Safety should be promoted as a way of life.

Commitment and leadership from management are imperative to ensure a positive attitude of no one getting hurt at the workplace.

When leaders are passionate about safety and support improvement as well as a stronger, consistent safety culture and best practices, workers benefit.

Construction incidents harm workers and their families, and the company bears the economic and reputational costs.

The industry needs to amplify efforts to instil the mindset that safety is truly every person's responsibility, to make construction sites a much safer place to work.

Loong Chik Tong

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