27 Jan 2021
OPENING SPEECH BY
MR JOHN NG, CHAIRMAN OF THE WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH COUNCIL AT THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF ACCIDENTS (ROSPA) – VIRTUAL AWARDS EXCELLENCE FORUM ON 27 JANUARY 2021
Lord Jordan of Bournville CBE, Deputy President, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA),
Mr Errol Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, RoSPA,
Mr Silas Sng, Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health,
Fellow presenters and esteemed colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen.
1. It is my pleasure to join everyone at this inaugural Virtual Awards Excellence Forum organised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. RoSPA’s vision of life free from serious accidental injuries resonates deeply within me. I, too, believe that all workplace accidents are preventable. This is especially true if both employers and workers take ownership of safety and health at their workplaces. For this reason, the Singapore’s Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council champions the Vision Zero movement to inculcate the mindset that every work-related injury and ill-health are preventable.
2. We should always work towards adopting such a mindset, especially during these tumultuous times. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on and communities worldwide being riddled with uncertainty, WSH can often be relegated to the back seat in terms of priorities., I would like to specifically highlight two companies, Rotary Engineering and Straits Construction, who have continued to push through this trying time by ensuring that safety and health remain at the core of their business operations. They have embraced technology, and have also focused resources in enhancing the health of their workers. Allow me to share more about them.
Award Winner – Rotary Engineering
3. Rotary Engineering, an oil and gas infrastructure services company established since 1972, is the Winner of RoSPA’s International Sector Awards, and also Highly commended in the Construction Engineering Sector. Rotary Engineering prides itself in providing a safe working environment for its staff. Management and staff at every level hold celebrations to mark new milestones of accident-free man hours. They also track and analyse health and safety indicators on a weekly basis, the results of which would influence future WSH-related activities at the various project sites. The company also designates an area called the “cozy corner” for staff to rest, munch on healthy snacks and take their minds off work momentarily should they need to. Health facilities to check blood pressure and BMI are also made available here for staff’s use.
4. Rotary Engineering has also embraced technology, using automated launching mechanism to lift, move, and install heavy materials during construction. This has reduced the need for their employees to work at height, while minimising exposure to the dangers of heavy lifting. The company is a strong proponent of pre-fabricating and assembling components of a structure at an offsite fabrication yard, prior to transporting to the construction site. Doing so has led to reduced site disruptions, allowing them to complete their projects safely, even when faced with tight schedules.
Award Winner – Straits Construction
5. Straits Construction, a construction company with over 50 years of experience, has also demonstrated commitment to taking ownership of WSH at every level. It conducts a “Find the Hazard” competition, which rewards workers who report potential hazards. Staff have also been empowered to stop work should they see any unsafe conditions. Near-miss cases are reported and studied with the intention to prevent re-occurrence, with no repercussions on staff. Also, through their annual Workplace Safety, Health and Environment Campaigns, and Productivity and Innovation Campaigns, the company incentivises staff to develop innovative solutions to WSH challenges by giving awards and implementing these solutions as part of their operations.
6. I am also happy to share that Straits Construction has taken a holistic approach towards safety and health. It has implemented health screenings, physical activities, conducted mental health and wellness talks as well as health management programmes for staff. Recognising the benefits of technology enabled WSH, the company developed IT solutions to support its reporting mechanisms, such as the Site Access System, eInspections, eChecklists, and eNearMissReporting. These have helped them to ensure safety while reducing paperwork. Hence, it is no surprise that they have been Commended in the Housebuilding & Property Development Sector in today’s awards.
7. These two are just some of the companies that have showcased exemplary WSH practices. One thing common between them is that these practices are also aligned with the WSH 2028 strategies.
8. The idea of WSH 2028 came about back in 2017 when Singapore’s Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, announced a target to reduce and sustain Singapore’s workplace fatality rate at less than 1.0 per 100,000 workers by 2028. To achieve this, a committee comprising representatives from the Government, industry, and unions came together to propose ways to improve the national WSH standards. Three strategies were advocated as part of this roadmap – firstly, to strengthen WSH ownership, secondly, to enhance focus on workplace health, and lastly, to promote technology-enabled WSH.
9. Mr Silas Sng, Singapore’s Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health from the Ministry of Manpower, will elaborate on these strategies later, and share with us how these strategies have helped Singapore move closer towards our goal.
10. The winners today serve as inspiration and role models for all of us. I look forward to the time of learning and sharing at today’s virtual Excellence Awards Forum.
11. Thank you.