19 Aug 2022
Opening Remarks by Mr Christopher Koh,
General Manager, Workplace Safety and Health Council at
World of Safety & Health Asia –
Roofing Hazards and Controls Workshop on
Friday, 19 August 2022 at 2pm
Mr Raymond Wat, Founder, World of Safety & Health Asia,
Friends and colleagues in the WSH community,
Ladies and gentlemen.
1. Good afternoon.
2. I want to commend WSHAsia for organising this event to raise awareness on working safely at height and to provide practical guidance on roof safety.
WAH performance 2022
3. Events like this, that drive home the message of work at height safety, are definitely needed as falls from height have been the #2 cause of fatal accidents so far this year, accounting for 7 workplace deaths in 2022.
4. Of the 7 falls from height cases, I just want to highlight 2 falls from roofs cases. The first case was a worker who fell through a roof skylight while preparing for his work activity in a factory. The second case was a worker who slipped and fell while carrying out repairs on a sloping roof at a house. In both incidents, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as travel restraints or fall-arrest equipment were not used during the course of work.
WSHC’s efforts to address roof and WAH safety
5. Workers obviously do not want to suffer a workplace injury. But sometimes, they may not realise what risks they are putting themselves under, and therefore do not take control measures like having the right PPE for work at height.
6. That is why accident prevention depends heavily on:
a. The company management having the right safety culture and systems in place to ensure that their workers follow safe work procedure; and
b. Workers themselves being able to recognise risk, and being aware of what safety precautions they should take.
7. Looking at the list of speakers and topics for this workshop, I’m hopeful that it will sharpen our ability to recognise work at height risks, know what are safe methods, and convince those of us who are managers to reinforce our WSH systems.
8. On our part, the WSH Council has been helping the industry build up their know-how to work safely at height. This includes:
a. The Code of Practice for Working Safely at Heights and the WSH Guidelines on Working Safely on Roofs. I want to thank the industry stakeholders who worked with us to develop these guidelines.
b. A poster for the Safe Use of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, to help workers realise the common hazards and risks involved, and the corresponding control measures to take.
Do make use of them to prevent work at height accidents in your own companies.
Safety Orientation Course for roofing contractors
9. Additionally, the WSH Council is currently working with the Roofing Association Singapore on a safety orientation course tailored for roofing contractors and relevant stakeholders. We will share more details on this course when it’s ready.
10. I’m very heartened that there are close to 900 registrations for this workshop. If all of you make use of the knowledge and resources from this workshop and from WSH Council, to create a safer workplace for your colleagues, it will be a meaningful step in reducing accidents.
11. I wish everyone a fruitful workshop. Thank you.