Workplace Safety and Health – is it even a possibility?

Why do we not take workplace safety seriously?

Is it something that’s just an afterthought? Or something that is not paramount?

Or are the lives and welfare of employees something that is of the least concern to employers?

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According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), there were 28 workplace fatalities in the first four months of 2016, six times more than the same period in 2015.

So what does this show?

Apart from a lack of effort on the part of workers and employers to uphold a safety standard, something really needs to be done before more lives are lost as a result of workplace mishaps.

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At a workplace safety award yesterday, the NTUC’s Assistant Secretary General Patrick Tay said in his speech that it is the shared responsibility of everyone to build a sound safety and health culture to prevent deaths, injuries and ill health in the workplace.

Indeed, the responsibility is a shared one. Not just the appointed safety officer in the individual companies (if there’s even one at all), but every one – from the top rungs of the company to every employee.

Unfortunately, this is not so. Often, no one really bothers about safety aspects on the shop floor and it becomes the sole responsibility of the safety officer.

And even if something is done to initiate workplace safety and health, it is not pervasive enough and not everyone really commits to it.

Every life lost in a workplace accident is tragic. But it could have been prevented if everyone commits to a safe and healthy working place.

In fact, everyone can embark on a journey to make his or her own workplace safe.

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The NTUC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore Institute of Safety Officers (SISO) to bring WSH professionals into the labour movement’s fold.

Through this, PMEs (Professionals, Managers and Executives) who are interested in WSH can take advantage of the NTUC’s network to embark on the journey as a WSH professional.

If everyone commits to the WSH vision – Every worker returns home safe and sound at the end of every work day – , then zero workplace accidents can be a reality.

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Arthur Lee

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