Heightened Safety Period to Arrest Spate of Workplace Fatalities

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has just announced a slate of new measures to strengthen workplace safety and health (WSH) and improve WSH oversight. These new measures and a state of  “Heightened Safety” is needed in view of the concerning rise in workplace fatalities this year.

As of 1 September 2022, the number of workplace fatalities stands at 36 for 2022. This is very close to the 37 fatalities recorded in the whole of 2021. MOM recognises that some sectors are still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and many companies are dealing with various challenges, such as catching up on delays in projects. However, companies cannot put safety on the back burner just to catch up on work progress or ramp up business activity. In doing so, companies are putting workers’ lives at risk. MOM and WSH Council will co-partner and help industries and companies be safer and strengthen our safety culture, and will implement the following measures to complement ongoing efforts. You can refer to the Press Release and Infographics for more details.

1Introduce a six-month “Heightened Safety” period from 1 September 2022 to 28 February 2023, where MOM may debar companies from employing new foreign employees following fatal and serious accidents and require the CEOs to account personally to MOM for the accidents
2Mandatory Safety Time-Out (STO) from 1 September to 15 September 2022
3Strengthen support for SMEs who need help to improve their WSH practices and processes, through the expansion of StartSAFE
4Setting up a Multi-Agency Workplace Safety Taskforce, supplemented by an external experts panel
5Expediting the implementation of the disqualification (DQ) framework and revised Demerit Point System (DPS) for the construction sector

Under Measure 2, the mandatory STO from 1 to 15 Sep, will be applicable to the following companies:

  • All companies in the construction, manufacturing, marine, process or transport and storage industries; and
  • All companies in other industries, which use heavy or industrial vehicles (e.g. buses, lorries, prime movers, forklifts, cranes, wheel-loader).

This STO should cover all workplace risks, not limited to only reinforcing vehicular safety. After the period of 1 to 15 Sep, MOM would be carrying out enforcement action to ensure that relevant companies carry out the STO. You may refer to the STO Checklist for guidance in carrying out this STO.

Under Measure 3,  StartSAFE is a programme that can help companies identify and manage workplace safety and health risks. Companies can sign up for StartSAFE via this link.

If you have any queries pertaining to the Heightened Safety Period, please contact the Secretariat at admin@aspri.com.sg