Greater emphasis on workplace safety and health needed: Zaqy

The Workplace Safety and Health Council has partnered the Health Promotion Board to address the potential impact of poorly managed health on workplace safety, with initiatives such as injury and occupational disease prevention.
The Workplace Safety and Health Council has partnered the Health Promotion Board to address the potential impact of poorly managed health on workplace safety, with initiatives such as injury and occupational disease prevention.PHOTO: ST FILE

There needs to be more emphasis on workplace safety and health despite the progress that has been made in reducing fatalities, said Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad yesterday.

Mr Zaqy told Parliament that Singapore's three-year average fatality rate relative to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries improved from 18th place in 2010 to seventh last year.

The OECD comprises 36 member countries.

Singapore's workplace fatality rate also declined, falling from 2.2 per 100,000 workers in 2010 to 1.2, or 41 cases, last year.

"But we must do better so that our workers can return home safe and healthy," Mr Zaqy said.

He was responding to Mr Yee Chia Hsing (Chua Chu Kang GRC), who asked about Singapore's progress compared with other countries.

Mr Zaqy said company bosses have to be committed to improving workplace safety and health.

"Top management, including at the board level, is best placed to influence the company's workplace safety and health culture, as they control its resources, policies and practices," he noted.

 
 
 

The Workplace Safety and Health Council has partnered the Health Promotion Board to address the potential impact of poorly managed health on workplace safety.

Their initiatives involve injury and occupational disease prevention, health screening, physical activities, healthier diet initiatives and adjustments in work processes so that employees with chronic conditions can continue working safely.

Mr Zaqy added: "Companies can leverage on technology advancements such as sensors, predictive analytics and the Internet of Things to more effectively manage workplace safety and health risks."

Technology can also help to make training more productive. For example, companies can use virtual reality systems that simulate working high off the ground.

Sue-Ann Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'Greater emphasis on workplace safety and health needed: Zaqy'. Print Edition | Subscribe