MOM Uncovers Shocking Failures in Construction – Are You Prepared?
Singapore’s Manpower Ministry (MOM) has been at the forefront of ensuring workplace safety. With the unveiling of the latest national workplace safety statistics for the first half of 2023, it’s clear that certain sectors (namely SMEs in construction) need more attention.
Let’s unpack the findings and the steps MOM is taking to bolster safety, as they target smaller construction sites. Are You Prepared?
Workplace Safety in Singapore:
A Disturbing Reality of 2023
In just the first half of 2023:
• 14 workers lost their lives on the job.
• A staggering 311 suffered major injuries. These include severe non-fatal injuries like amputations and blindness.
Looking back at 2022:
• The latter half saw 18 deaths and 316 major injuries.
• The first half? An even more alarming 28 deaths and 298 major injuries.
Diving deeper into the sectors:
• Construction, Transportation, Storage, and Manufacturing were the deadliest, accounting for 13 out of the 14 deaths in the first half of 2023 and a whopping 62% of all major injuries.
• The manufacturing sector alone saw major injuries skyrocket to 87, a jump from 62 in just the previous six months.
• The construction industry wasn’t far behind with injuries rising to 80, up from 73.
MOM Targets Smaller Construction Sites with Intensified Inspections!
Are you Prepared?
MOM has announced a collaboration with key agencies and industry experts to elevate safety protocols for contractors in smaller-scale construction. While specifics are yet to be unveiled, there’s a clear emphasis on increasing oversight for these sites.
Given the vast number of smaller sites across the island, they’ve historically seen less enforcement than their larger counterparts. This is about to change.
In the Words of the Experts:
“As you can see with the measures that we are putting in place, we are making it tighter… So give us a bit more time, it’s not so much the measures alone, but it’s really about creating that awareness, the culture. I think that’s more critical than just having to fine and enforce.”
– Senior Minister of State for Manpower, Zaqy Mohamad, emphasizes the importance of a safety culture.
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Areas Needing Targeted Interventions:
1. Metalworking Industry: A surge in major injuries has been observed, prompting MOM to prioritize safety inspections.
2. Smaller-Scale Construction: With a significant number of injuries reported, MOM is set to collaborate with industry partners to uplift safety standards.
Demerit Point System
Previously exclusive to the construction sector, this system will soon encompass manufacturing companies. Those accumulating enough demerit points will be temporarily banned from hiring new foreign employees.
Ongoing Safety Operations:
MOM isn’t resting on its laurels. Enforcement operations are in full swing, focusing on high-risk sectors. A previous operation resulted in over 900 inspections and substantial fines.
The DIRE Consequences of Ignoring Safety:
Overlooking these safety measures can have immediate and lasting impacts:
• Rising Fatalities: An uptick in workplace deaths can deter potential employees, making talent attraction and retention challenging.
• Economic Strain: Beyond the direct medical costs, businesses might face higher insurance rates, legal fees, and lost productivity. Injured workers mean missed deadlines and potential business losses.
• Singapore’s Reputation at Stake: Singapore’s global image as a standard-bearer could be jeopardized. A dip in safety standards might deter international businesses and investments, slowing economic growth.
Working Towards a Safer Tomorrow
Progress has been made, but the journey towards a safer workplace continues. With collective effort, adherence to safety norms, and the right technological tools, we can create a safer environment for all.