09 Sep 2020

Opening Address by Mr Douglas Foo,
Chairman of the Workplace Safety and Health Council (Manufacturing) Committee at the
Safe Management Measures for your Business
on 9 September 2020 at 10am

Distinguished viewers, ladies and gentlemen,

1. Good morning. Welcome to the today’s webinar – Safe Management Measures for your Business. Thank you for taking the time to join me this morning.

2. This year has been a tumultuous one. There has been much uncertainty towards Singapore’s future economy as we go through with the rest of the year. In a recent article by The Straits Times, it was mentioned that the Manufacturing and Services Sectors remain pessimistic about the business outlook for the second half of the year, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as uncertain global trade and macroeconomic conditions as key reasons . In addition, the ever-growing concern on the disruptions to supply chains continues to loom over our heads.

3. As we continue to navigate through the uncertainties and adapt to new ways of working, Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) standards must continue to remain high, while ramping our efforts to imbue workers with greater WSH awareness. We must remain vigilant and ensure that we take time to take care of our worker’s safety and health. As evident by your presence in today’s webinar, I am heartened to know that WSH remains a top priority among all of us as we continue in our battle with the COVID-19.

Safe Management Measures in Manufacturing Sector

4. This pandemic has reminded us the importance of our workers’ health at the workplace. Be it donning a mask, taking our temperatures, maintaining safe distances or monitoring our health closely, all these preventive measures are critical to ensure that our workers remain healthy at work.

5. In addition to the measures mentioned earlier, I am glad to note that the Manufacturing Sector has been proactive in implementing Safe Management Measures (SMM) at the workplaces. Besides appointing Safe Management Officers to facilitate the implementation process, some of us have imposed staggered working hours to minimise contact among our workers. We have also introduced flexible working arrangements for those who are able to work from home.

6. I strongly encourage the Manufacturing sector to continue to look for creative ways to include SMM into our already robust WSH management systems. For example, Seagate International Headquarters Pte Ltd has incorporated SMM into their existing WSH management system. All their staff have been briefed about SMM, as well as the potential risk of breaching such measures. In addition to the using SafeEntry, Seagate also maintains a checklist for their Safe Management Officers to facilitate and monitor the compliance of these measures. They have also set up clear markings and signages to facilitate safe distancing during entry and exits. To ensure the cleanliness of the workplace, more cleaning staff are deployed, with a higher frequency of disinfection of areas with the highest traffic. In the event that a suspected case is reported, Seagate has mapped out a comprehensive action plan which includes contact tracing, activity mapping, issuing and monitoring of close contact and leave of absence cases. These little actions can greatly contribute towards the nation’s fight against COVID-19 and ensure that our workers can remain safe and healthy at work.

WSH in the Manufacturing Sector

7. Since the Safe Hands Campaign 2020 led by SMF in May, I am happy to share that 382 companies have stepped forward to pledge their commitment towards protecting their workers’ hands, as well as towards a safer working environment for employees. This was about a 42% increase from 220 companies last year, and it signifies the industry’s continuous dedication and commitment towards a safer and healthier working environment. I sincerely thank you for your support, and I highly encourage you all to continue doing so.

8. In addition to this, SMF has also announced at the Safe Hands Campaign that they have joined the bizSAFE community as a bizSAFE partner. As a partner, SMF is committed to rallying our members to come onboard the bizSAFE programme, and helping our members take ownership of their own safety and health by building their WSH capabilities. Together with the WSH Council, we will continue to engage the manufacturing sector to develop new ideas and strategies to enhance WSH standards and highlight the importance of WSH.

9. For example, we have curated the Safe Hand e-kits for the various sub-sectors, such as Metalworking, Woodworking, and Food and Beverages sectors. These readily downloadable e-kits, which include bite-sized training materials and photo libraries depicting safe use of machinery, aim to provide convenient and easy-to-understand industry-specific resources that companies can use to further cultivate a safer working culture. In particular, the Look, Think, Do posters that are included in these kits have been developed in such a way that employees from each sub-sector can easily identify the do’s and don’ts at the workplace at a glance.


10. Today, we will be hearing from the Ministry of Manpower on the best practices in implementation of SMM. There will also be opportunities to hear from our industry peers on the best WSH practices they have employed. I believe we can all learn from each other, and knowing how other companies have successfully integrated SMM into their WSH practices can help you all do so as well.

11. I strongly encourage you to participate in the Q&A segment at the end. I look forward to spending a fruitful and meaningful session with you today.

12. Thank you.