Safety track records of construction firms can be easily compared on new MOM e-service

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad (in grey mask) observing a worksite inspection on Jan 21, 2021. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Construction firms' safety track records will be more easily accessible from Thursday (Jan 21), with statistics on information such as fatalities and stop-work orders consolidated for easy comparison.

The data on the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) website will also be updated every fortnight.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad gave the update after observing a work site inspection on Thursday morning.

The records, uploaded to a platform called CheckSafe, also include enforcement details such as demerit points, and whether the company is under the Business Under Surveillance (Bus) programme or has workplace safety and health (WSH) records.

This allows industry players and the public to compare such records and make selections of contractors based on their WSH records, said MOM.

While such information was available previously on MOM's site, users comparing such statistics had to download separate PDF files, each documenting one statistic. The files were also not changed in sync, with updates between once every two weeks and once per quarter.

They can now see multiple statistics at a glance.

Records displayed on CheckSafe date back three years - with the exception of fatalities, which are reflected for a year - in hopes that contravening companies will improve their safety standards and not be faulted for past incidents over the long term.

More industries beyond construction will be added progressively.

Thursday's inspection that Mr Zaqy joined was one of about 400 inspections in Operation Robin, which began following a spate of workplace deaths late last year.

Between Nov 23 and Dec 2, five fatalities took place in separate incidents, of which two were in construction.

The operation runs from Dec 10 to Feb 15, and targets high-risk sectors such as construction, manufacturing and marine.

Records displayed on CheckSafe date back three years - with the exception of fatalities, which are reflected for a year. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Mr Zaqy said the recent emphasis on site inspections is in tandem with the resumption of work in high-risk sectors in the last quarter of 2020, where workplace injuries reported were similar to the same period in 2019.

"This (safety inspections) is something we are committed to... especially since businesses have reopened post-circuit breaker and post-phase two," he said.

"It's important that we continue to be vigilant because we also notice certain trends, where businesses rush works in order to catch up on schedule," he added.

Thus far, about 450 contraventions have been found during Operation Robin, and four stop-work orders issued, including one to the work site inspected on Thursday - condo development Affinity at Serangoon that is built by L.S. Construction.

Mr Zaqy said multiple contraventions were found, including work-at-height issues and commencing excavation works without adequate safety measures.

On the CheckSafe e-service, Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore president Chia Ngiang Hong said: "CheckSafe is designed to promote greater ownership of the industry's WSH performance and will help to ensure that the various stakeholders are notified of safety track records of construction and other related companies.

"With this knowledge, their decision on the choice of such companies will be better informed and well guided, and likely to lead to better WSH performance."

President of the Singapore Contractors Association Ng Yek Meng also welcomed the new e-service, emphasising that it encourages greater transparency and ownership of WSH practices.

CheckSafe can be accessed here.

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