Mr Pritam Singh: Sir, in January this year, the eighth Meeting of the International Advisory Panel on Workplace Safety and Health made its recommendations, which the Government accepted.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s press release states, “2022 saw a spate of workplace fatalities largely due to basic safety lapses, such as inadequate safety planning and control measures, and non-compliance with safety measures.”
I also know that the Heightened Safety Period (HSP) which was to have been from September 2022 to February 2023, was extended by three months until 31 May. The fact of the extension itself indicates that the previous HSP did not adequately meet its objectives. While the workplace fatality rate has improved, unfortunately, the annualised rate of major injuries actually increased from 16.8 to 18.7 per 100,000 workers during the first three months of the HSP.
For the built environment sector in particular, do major safety lapses occur in the context of subcontracting work where margins for profits and time to complete work may be narrower, and are safety lapses more prevalent here?
I understand that effort is being put into this issue of workplace fatalities and major injuries, but may I ask what the Government is going to do differently when implementing these new 2023 recommendations? Does the Ministry foresee a deeper cultural shake-up required in the attitudes towards workplace safety? How are fatalities and major injuries going to be arrested in a more significant way?
Ministry of Manpower
1 March 2023