29 Jul 2021
Welcome Address by Mr John Ng
Chairman of the Workplace Safety and Health Council
at the virtual WSH Awards and bizSAFE Awards 2021
on 29 July 2021, 9.30 a.m.
Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower,
Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Manpower,
Members of the WSH Council,
Tripartite partners, award recipients,
Ladies and gentlemen.
1. Good morning. Thank you for taking time to join me at this special double-bill event of the WSH Awards and bizSAFE Awards 2021. This is the first time we recognise the recipients of both awards together.
2. The WSH Awards recognise a company’s, project’s or individual’s exemplary safety and health achievements over the past year. The bizSAFE Awards recognise bizSAFE companies for implementing excellent risk management processes, and for being strong advocates of good risk management to others.
3. Last year, the WSH Awards was presented in a new commemorative e-book format. This year, we have once again brought the event online, but via a virtual platform where you can navigate to watch videos about the winners, read stories on their innovative WSH practices, send them congratulatory messages and have fun at the photo booth. If you have yet to do so, do take some time to browse through the virtual platform after this ceremony ends.
Improved quality of applications
4. I am happy to know that there were more applications submitted for the WSH Awards this year, an increase of 20% compared to 2020. This is an encouraging sign of companies’ continued commitment to and emphasis on WSH, despite the setbacks brought about by COVID-19.
5. The quality of applications also improved this year, as more applicants of the WSH Performance Awards and Safety and Health Award Recognition for Projects (SHARP) attained improved scores, which were validated by audits, and were qualified to win. Given the increased focus on health during the past year, we also welcomed more applications, almost double, from the healthcare industry for the WSH Innovation Awards.
6. I was also heartened to hear the applicants’ feedback that the recognition gained in winning the awards gave their customers greater assurance and confidence, and in turn, opened doors for more business opportunities. This validated our message to companies that taking good care of their workers’ safety and health makes good business sense.
Make WSH a Win-Win Business Decision
7. Between companies, partnership in WSH is also a win-win business decision. In fact, more can be achieved together for their business when companies in the same value chain are aligned in strong WSH ownership.
8. I would like to share one such win-win example of two award winners, one of the WSH Awards and the other of the bizSAFE Awards. Lendlease and Wee Chwee Huat Scaffolding and Construction have demonstrated an amazing WSH partnership as service buyer and contractor respectively.
9. Lendlease will be receiving their 10th WSH Performance Award and 25th SHARP Award today. In addition to recording good WSH performance for their multiple projects, the company boasts an established framework that holistically supports their workers’ health and well-being through various programmes and initiatives.
10. One initiative they have implemented since 2015 is the Well-being Leave, where eligible employees receive up to three days of such paid leave per calendar year. This demonstrates their proactivity in helping their workers prevent illnesses and maintain positive well-being.
11. Other laudable initiatives include the Friend in Need programme that aids the management of mental stress at the workplace and the Project Fatigue Management Plan that uses a biometrics man-hours tracking system to guide employees on their working arrangements and prevent them from overworking. Employees also get access to an in-house online portal and mobile app loaded with lifestyle programmes to facilitate healthy living.
12. Lendlease also has a stringent contractor pre-qualification system, assessing contractors based on their ability to adhere to the company’s own in-house safety rules. Among the company’s list of qualified contractors is Wee Chwee Huat Scaffolding and Construction.
13. Due to their strong commitment towards ensuring the safety of their workers, Wee Chwee Huat has maintained zero fatality since their incorporation in 1991, an impressive track record for an SME in the traditionally high-risk construction sector.
14. Aligned with the WSH 2028 strategy to promote technology-enabled WSH, the company designed and created a Fall Experience Simulator that enables its workers to experience common situations that may be life-threatening onsite. Participants could also test out different scenarios to see what worked and what didn’t, thus gaining the knowledge and confidence to apply their new skills in the real world.
15. Wee Chwee Huat also has an Artificial Intelligence solution known as the Advanced Human Hazard Alert and Avoidance System, which could be mounted on moving vehicles, like forklifts, to help workers detect movements and obstacles at worksites and warehouses. The device is also able to detect workers standing close to rooftop edges and alert them from going into exclusion zones accidentally.
16. Today, Wee Chwee Huat, will be receiving their sixth consecutive bizSAFE Enterprise Exemplary Award and fifth consecutive bizSAFE Champion Award.
17. I congratulate Lendlease, Wee Chwee Huat, and other award winners for their well-deserved accolades, and urge them to continue their journeys, as good WSH models for others to emulate. Let us celebrate their achievements today.
18. Thank you.