For Mr Andy Tan, a former regular in the Singapore Armed Forces, the discipline instilled in him by the army has made him a better construction safety officer.
Yesterday, the 37-year-old safety officer was lauded by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for his contribution to workplace safety.
Mr Tan, who works at Shanghai Tunnel Engineering, is the first award recipient in a new category for individuals at LTA's Annual Safety Award Convention.
The event recognises contractors who have outstanding safety strategies for LTA projects.
There are about 200 sites and 27,000 workers involved in transport infrastructure projects.
Mr Tan oversees the safety of about 650 workers at the worksite for Gul Circle Station, one of four new MRT stations along the Tuas West Extension, which is slated for completion next year.
"I have to make sure workers listen to me. This can be a challenge because they come from different countries, with different mindsets about safety, and there is always a language barrier," he said.
To ensure that the workers understand him, Mr Tan gets other workers to translate what he said, and is also learning Tamil.
In total, 23 contractors received awards. Two firms, KTC Civil Engineering and Construction and GS Engineering and Construction, won the top award - the LTA Contractors Challenge Shield.
KTC director of infrastructure Yeap Yu Kong, 53, said: "If you complete a project in the fastest time with the lowest cost, but its safety record isn't good, it cannot be considered a successful project. We have to respect lives."
LTA statistics show that the accident frequency rate - which refers to accidents per million man-hours worked - for its projects went down from 1.5 in 2007 to 0.66 as of July this year.
A spokesman said that most of the injuries are hand-related.