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.
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.
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.