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 New national plan launched for workplace safety and health

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PostSubject: New national plan launched for workplace safety and health   Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:44 am

New national plan launched for workplace safety and health
By Saifulbahri Ismail, 938LIVE | Posted: 28 April 2009 2336 hrs



Foreign construction workers in Singapore

SINGAPORE: A new national plan for workplace safety and health (WSH) has been launched.

Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong said the plan is not aimed only at further improving WSH standards and outcomes, but also sustaining these improvements over the long run.

The target is to bring the workplace fatality rate to below 1.8 per 100,000 workers by the year 2018.

Two higher risk sectors – construction and marine – are the first to be targeted under the WSH 2018, which will see their fatality rates halved within five years.

This would translate to a fatality rate of 3.5 for the construction sector and 4.6 for the marine sector.

The WSH Council will be releasing draft plans for the construction and marine sectors within the next three months for public consultation.

According to council member Jackson Yap, this initial target can be achieved by focusing on the simple aspects of safety.

He said: "Right now, there are lower hanging fruits that one can look at to improve safety at the workplace. There are simpler things that can be done.

"Things like making sure the person wears his safety equipment, that they are properly trained, the scaffolding is properly erected – the more down-to-earth things that can be and should be done... will bring us to our first target."

A key initiative is the implementation of a Fall Protection Plan at all marine and construction workplaces.

Over the past four years, "falls from heights" accounted for some 50 per cent of deaths in the construction sector. It is also one of the recurrent problems in the marine sector.

WSH 2018 will focus on training to grow the pool of WSH professionals. A new 13-module Trade-Specific WSH for Marine Industry Workplace Skills Qualifications framework will be rolled out for workers.

These modules cover trades such as welding, tank cleaning and scaffolding. Major shipyards have committed to training and certifying a total of 10,000 workers over the next three years under the framework. Sembawang Shipyard, in fact, plans to send some 1,000 workers annually.

Simon Kuik, general manager for operations, Sembawang Shipyard, said: "They come from different countries and these are the training programmes we're pushing them through to transform them very quickly, so that they can be a safe and productive worker within, say 12 months' time, and they can be productive for the next 10 over years when they work for us."

To nurture a strong safety culture, a WSH culture index system will also be developed to help companies assess the state of their WSH culture and identify areas for improvement.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/425586/1/.html
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