23 Mar 2022
WELCOME ADDRESS BY MR DOUGLAS FOO,
CHAIRMAN, WSH COUNCIL (MANUFACTURING)
AT THE LAUNCH OF THE SAFE HANDS CAMPAIGN 2022,
23 MARCH 2022
Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Manpower
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. A very warm welcome to the launch of the Safe Hands Campaign 2022. Every year, the Campaign calls upon employers and employees, like yourself, to commit and pledge towards providing a safe and healthy working environment, free from hand and finger injuries.
2. This year’s Campaign is held in collaboration with the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) and the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council. I thank the industry as a whole for their unwavering support through this very important Campaign, especially for the manufacturing sector.
3. I would also like to commend the industry for taking the initiative in adopting technology to enable WSH. As an example, Lim Kee Food Manufacturing Pte Ltd implemented a pick and place machine, which automates the process of picking buns from the conveyor belt and arranging them on the tray. Before this, two workers were required to manually pick and place the buns. Automation eliminates injury risk to people and makes operations more resilient against manpower disruptions like those due to Covid, so should be the first resort to manufacturers whenever viable.
4. SMF has been working very closely with us at the WSH Council to spearhead initiatives to prevent hand and finger injuries. These include:
a. Organising webinars and forums in collaboration with associations and unions to incorporate machinery safety topics. An example would be the WSH Management System (WSHMS) Webinar organised in October 2021, which focused on the importance of maintaining high standards of WSH. During this webinar, the updated WSHMS Guidelines for the Metalworking Industry was unveiled. The guidelines were updated to align with the Singapore Standards (SS) ISO 45001, which is widely used by the industry and WSH auditors as a guide for good WSH practices.
b. SMF’s Centre for Corporate Learning has also renewed their status as an Approved Training Organisation. It will be the main training provider for the bizSAFE programme for their members. The programme will help companies build WSH capabilities including preventing hand and finger injuries at the workplaces.
5. We also partnered with the Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association to facilitate learning journeys to companies with the best machinery safety practices. This year, we visited Thong Siek Food Industry Pte Ltd, where we witnessed innovative ways in adopting technology to enable WSH. To extend the outreach and sharing of good WSH practices, the visit was filmed, so please look out for it when the video is screened later.
6. The WSH Council (Manufacturing) Committee has also worked with the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) to incorporate WSH topics into the curriculum of the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Food Safety Course Level 1 since 2021. When conducting the course, the trainer would take participants through topics such as near-miss reporting, as well as an explanation of the WSH (Risk Management) Regulations, which is a key component of the WSH Act. These topics are also part of the bizSAFE programme. As most of you may know, bizSAFE is a nationally recognised capability-building programme designed to help companies build workplace safety and health capabilities. Being on board bizSAFE helps companies to comply to prevailing Risk Management Regulations, and provide a safe and healthy working environment for their workers. Workplace incidents can cause massive delays and financial losses, so being recognised as a company that takes the lead to ensure workers’ safety and health is an added business competitive edge.
7. Out of the 39,000 bizSAFE companies, one company from the Food Manufacturing sector that has benefitted is Montreux Patisserie Pte Ltd, which has attained bizSAFE level 3 since 2020. Through the bizSAFE programme, the company went through an automation phase to reduce manual handling and at the same time reduce the risk of hand and finger injuries. For example, using an Automated Cake Cutting machine that can be pre-programmed to cut cakes.
8. I highly encourage more of you to begin your WSH journey and sign up for bizSAFE. We will share how later.
9. In addition, we have curated and prepared numerous easy-to-access WSH kits for the manufacturing sector. These kits include photo libraries for machine safety, guides on safe operations of machines, and case studies for each sub-sector, including Food Manufacturing. Do visit the WSH Council’s website for these kits, which will come in handy for you to equip and educate your employees.
10. I am confident that you will be able to learn much from today’s event. I would also like to thank Thong Siek for their hospitality in hosting the launch of this year’s Safe Hands Campaign at their premises. They will also be doing a brief sharing on how they have incorporated WSH into their daily work.
11. May you have a wonderful day ahead. Thank you.