Workplace Safety Procedures in Singapore’s Construction Industry

Construction is a key sector in Singapore and is poised to grow remarkably in the next few decades. It also recruits a large number of foreign workers. Despite the availability of mandatory work injury compensation insurance , ensuring worker safety is of paramount importance because of the importance of this sector in driving economic growth. The rest of this article will describe the different procedures taken by the Singapore government to reduce the risks involved in the workplace.

Falls from Heights

Falls from heights are responsible for half the workplace fatalities in Singapore. The National Work at Heights Safety Taskforce was established in 2009 to develop effective procedures to reduce the number of falls from heights. Several recommendations have been suggested by this taskforce over the years. They are listed below.

* The first step involves making a fall prevention plan and providing practical assistance to companies that need the assistance in implementing the safety procedures.

* The second step involves educating companies about the advantages of safety while working at heights.

* The third step is to certify and recognise companies that successfully implement the safety norms.

* The final step involves framing the right legislation and establishing an enforcement wing to regulate companies and ensure that there are no violations of the regulations.

Noise-Induced Deafness

Owing to the long term exposure to excessive noise at the workplace, Noise-Induced Deafness, a condition that involves a permanent loss of hearing, can occur in older workers. The Singapore government had established the Noise-Induced Deafness Prevention Programme in 2007 to deal with this issue. Legally, it is mandatory for all companies to conduct a risk assessment to check if there is a noise hazard at the workplace. The risk assessment has to follow Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) guidelines. If there is a noise hazard at the workplace, all employees experiencing the noise hazard should undergo annual medical examinations and the results of the examinations should be submitted to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). A Hearing Conservation Programme(HCP) is implemented to reduce the damage caused by excessive noise.

Confined Spaces

A confined space is an area with minimum access to the outside world. Owing to the lack of natural ventilation, workers can experience a lack of oxygen and in the event of a fire or explosion, escape is difficult. A few examples of confined spaces are tanks, manholes and pipes. In Singapore, there is legislation that makes it mandatory that the following steps are followed.

* Identification of all confined spaces.

* Safe entry and exit points to and from the confined space.

* Sufficient lighting and ventilation in the confined space.

* Proper evaluation of the workers entering the confined space.

What Can Reduce The Premiums Of Workmen Compensation?

Workers compensation or workmen compensation is useful in serving two main purposes. All the injured workers are assured proper medical care along with a certain amount of compensation for a certain portion of the income they tend to lose, as they cannot return to work for a period of time until recovered. The second purpose is to protect the employers from going through lawsuits by any workers who are injured or impaired due to the nature of work or the risks prone while working on it.

Reduce the premiums this way – Points to Employers

Mange the risks in the right way – It is always suggested to hire a manager for the management of risk, loss control and to settle the compensation of the workers. This kind of team helps in conducting programs that ensures the safety of the workers and dealing with sudden accidents. A few companies identified the most accident-prone workplaces and applied all the safety measures, which consistently reduced the injuries and compensations to 59% over a period of time.

Know the savings available in the state – Certain state government rules and laws of the workmen compensation deals with merit credits. For instance, if a company is ensuring the responsibility of the workers safety and compensates with the required benefits in case of accidents and on-the-job injuries. The insurer gives premium credits if there is no complaint of any risk happening over a period of time and reduces the premium payment from 5% to a maximum of 15%.

Correctly figured premium – Always check if the company and the related entity is placed in the right category of the industry to get the compensation and benefits of the workers. A check needs to be made on the login and logout time of workers, overtime work, hence ensuring their payroll is managed accurately.

Increase the deductibles – Some states raise an option of medical deductibles in the compensation given to workers. With this, the employers become more conscious on providing the necessary safe environment to work in, with the least risk of accidents and injuries.

Try avoiding assigned risk – Always check with other agents and acquaintances on various group insurance programs and premiums, which can evidently reduce the costs of claims.

Right coordination of disability programs – This is not available with every insurer or state laws. It purely depends on the interest of the employer with the type of business they deal in. Certain companies take a program that coordinates both benefits and compensation along with the care of employee’s safety. This comes as an advantage when taking on a mass of workers and over a long period of time.