How safety assessors ensure measures are followed

Togged up in boots and a safety helmet, with a checklist in hand, Mr Tan Chin Jiat strides towards a construction site, arriving unannounced.

Like at any building entrance, he checks in via the SafeEntry system, goes through temperature screening and registers his personal particulars, in line with Covid-19 rules.

The 40-year-old is among 200 safety assessors who visit worksites across the island to ensure employers have implemented safe management measures thoroughly, with no shortcomings.

It is a new job prompted by the coronavirus and since June, these officers of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) have been tasked with ensuring worksites do not flout the rules.

Typically, Mr Tan spends about an hour to 1½ hours scrutinising that all is in order and rules are followed. Another assessor may accompany him when the site is large.

One of his first tasks is to find the safe management officer, who will present the company's safe management plans to him.

Next, he will tour the site to check that the required practices are not ignored. These include segregating workers into different teams and by zones, with visual identifiers to demarcate the specific zone in which a team has to stay; and staggered timings for lunch and other breaks for the various teams.

He carries out spot checks on workers at the site to ensure they have green access codes on the SGWorkPass app, indicating they can resume work.

In addition, he checks that they have downloaded and activated the TraceTogether app.

Mr Tan will produce a report of his observations and highlight shortcomings or areas for improvement and submit it to the BCA, usually on the same day.

The contractor will get a copy of it through an electronic system.

Should there be major shortcomings, a contractor will be issued a three-day safety time-out to suspend all work and rectify the problems.

Mr Tan or another assessor will return to the site after the three days to ensure the faults are fixed.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2020, with the headline How safety assessors ensure measures are followed. Subscribe