Singapore has been trialling a new regulatory approach to workplace health and safety – one that promotes greater ownership among companies.
Last year, the Ministry of Manpower began testing new ways to inspect workplaces based on design thinking and behavioural insights. It also began using benchmarking techniques to inform businesses of how they perform relative to others in their industry.
Speaking at the Workplace Safety and Health Conference, Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said the results were ‘interesting’. She said the objective of the program was “not so much to penalise the laggards, but to encourage those who do well to keep up their efforts.”
“Through this experiment, we found that the combination of benchmarking information and commitment to strict enforcement encouraged the company management to reassess safety practices in all their worksites.”
Singapore has had an average fatality rate of 2.1 over the last decade, but achieved a record low rate of 1.2 last year.
Mrs Teo said the aim was now to reduce and maintain a fatality rate of less than 1 per 100,000 workers for the next ten years, and that there were three key areas for improvement.
“Some companies are still adopting a compliance mindset, choosing to do the bare minimum for safety, or worse, meeting WSH requirements only for show during inspections.”
“We need to transform the business environment into one which recognises WSH as an integral part of business success.”
The first way Singapore plans to do this by making company health and safety records more transparent and publicly available, in the hopes that buyers of goods and services will consider these records when making purchase decisions.
Secondly, there are plans to harmonise the concepts of workplace health and workplace safety. Bridging courses will ensure experts in safety are also experts in workplace health, and that the two risks are treated as interrelated.
And thirdly, Singapore plans to invest heavily in technological advancements such as data analytics, virtual reality, sensors, and the Internet of Things to improve workplace safety and training.
“Human capital is Singapore’s only resource and we must aspire for our WSH standards to be among the best in the world.”
Learn more about improving workplace safety at The Sydney Safety Forum on Sept 25th and 26th. myosh has joined forces with The Safety Institute of Australia’s annual state conference to bring together safety professionals and industry experts to collaborate, share, and learn.
Plenary sessions and dual streams will focus on the concepts of :
- New Technologies
- Safety Differently
- Psychological Health
- Standards and Law
- and Case Studies