16 Nov 2021

Closing Remarks by Mr Yam Ah Mee, Chairman, 
WSH Council Construction & Landscape Committee at the 
Construction WSH Leadership Dialogue 2021 on 
Tuesday, 16 November 2021, 4:15pm

Mr Abu Bakar bin Mohd Nor, Deputy Chairman, WSH Council
Distinguished panellists, 
Industry partners and supporters, 
Ladies and gentlemen.

1. We have come to the end of this Dialogue. I hope you have enjoyed the session; gaining insights and perspectives from the panellists, and have found the discussions to be relevant for your organisation.

Commitment and dedication for good WSH by all levels
2. Our panellists raised many relevant and pertinent points today; ranging from the challenges the construction industry faces, to ways where we need to improve WSH. One common trait that has been highlighted is that leadership is key.

3. For example, Mr Ng Yek Meng from the Singapore Contractors Association Limited shared that the role of the Project Manager is very important. If the Project Manager is not knowledgeable nor interested in WSH, then the WSHOs will have a much harder job.  

4. Mr Steven Goh from the Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees Union also supported this; that WSH knowledge should be present upstream even at the MD and CEO level. If senior management can understand and appreciate the need for safe work procedures, then adequate resources can be invested into safety.

5. This issue of WSH skills qualification and expertise at the senior management and PM levels raised by the panellists is crucial.  We should be going upstream to have strong WSH knowledge at these levels, then the WSHOs and WSH coordinators on the ground can be more effective and empowered. This is an issue that I hope to take further with the WSH Council and MOM. 

6. In addition, the issue of a “safety budget” in construction project contracts is a useful one. It fits the WSH 2028 strategy of aligning commercial interest with WSH. I hope we can have more widespread adoption of this concept in both the public and private sectors. 

Better productivity; better WSH
7. Better productivity will also bring about better WSH. Mr Nelson Tee from the Specialist Trade Alliance of Singapore highlighted to us the manpower crunch faced by the industry in view of these COVID times. And to tackle this, some roles may have to be combined and undertaken by one person. But in doing so, he stressed that safety should not be compromised. The C&L Committee in the WSH Council can look into the various activities that require multiple safety roles, and review if they can be done more productively, including those of WSH Officers.

Commitment to WSH 2028 targets for better WSH outcomes
8. The ideas discussed in the dialogue I believe can strengthen industry ownership over WSH – a key priority in the WSH 2028 strategies. It is a challenging situation now, but I am confident that conditions will improve, and we should focus on building back better for the longer term.  

9. In conclusion, I thank the panellists once again for their valuable insights shared, as well as to everyone who is present here and those joining us online, for taking time to attend this Dialogue. 

10. I wish you the best in your company’s WSH efforts. Let us remember to “Take Time to Take Care” of our safety and health, so that Singapore can have a healthy workforce in safe workplaces; and be a country renowned for best practices in WSH. Thank you.