17 Nov 2020
WELCOME ADDRESS BY
MR JOHN NG, CHAIRMAN OF THE WSH COUNCIL AT THE
SINGAPORE WSH CONFERENCE 2020 ON
TUESDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2020, 1PM
Fellow tripartite partners, friends and colleagues in the WSH fraternity.
1.Thank you for joining us at The Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Conference 2020 today. My heartfelt appreciation too, to the Ministry of Manpower, the Singapore National Employers Federation and the National Trades Union Congress for jointly organising the Conference with the WSH Council.
Conference going digital and WSH Council’s efforts
2.The Singapore WSH Conference is a biennial event, and we are into the 6th edition where WSH practitioners come together to network, exchange ideas and collaborate towards improving WSH outcomes in the region. It is the first time that the Conference is being held online in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
3.With the onslaught of the pandemic earlier this year, the Conference is only one of the many things the WSH Council had to change, adjust and adapt. Our annual National WSH Campaign in April this year was our first virtual initiative, which paved the way for the shift of our physical forums and seminars to go online. We also changed the way we work and engage the industry, and relooked at our 10-year sectoral roadmaps with the various industries to stay aligned with the new norms.
4.The pandemic has had a profound impact on businesses in Singapore and throughout the world, but it had also sent a strong reminder that good WSH practices is important to ensure that our workers can continue to work safely and healthily during these trying times.
5.It is precisely in times like this, that we need to collectively share, impart new knowledge to each other, and gain valuable insights into seamlessly implementing good WSH practices with Safe Management Measures (SMM). Only then, can we emerge stronger from this crisis to take on greater challenges ahead.
Enabling businesses to weather the COVID-19 storm
6.This year, our Conference theme is “Enabling Business and Empowering Workforce in the COVID-19 World”, and the organising team has worked hard to put together an extensive programme for you. Speakers and moderators spanning across a wide range of industries will share their journeys and experiences, as well as shed light on how companies maintain good WSH practices and SMM to sustain their businesses, and propel themselves forward and ahead for a post COVID-19 workplace of the future.
7.The Conference programme will cover 3 key areas – health, ownership and technology.
7.1 First, health. We have seen the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our workers, and in turn on companies and a country’s economy. If we do not have a healthy workforce, we cannot have a safe workplace. And without a healthy workforce and a safe workplace, we cannot have sustainable businesses.
7.2 Looking after our workers’ health not only includes their physical health, but also their mental health and overall well-being. Our presenters will share key strategies on how to create and maintain a safe, healthy and positive work environment.
7.3 Secondly, ownership. WSH is pivotal in preparing businesses and their employees for the post COVID-19 workplace of the future. The Conference will cover the importance of instilling WSH ownership and making it a way of life. Industries and companies must be intrinsically motivated to prevent accidents and to keep their workforce healthy. This will bring about a sustainable culture of prevention from the top management to the last worker.
7.4 Thirdly, technology. With the slowdown of economies around the world, and with the possibility of countries falling into recession, it is imperative for businesses to transform the way they do things in order to survive.
7.5 Businesses need to embrace the digital revolution and incorporate technology into their systems and processes, so as to strive for new solutions which can help lower WSH risks. It is also important for workers to constantly upgrade their skills to keep up with the times.
8.As with the previous Conferences, there will be a special segment for youths to share with us their vision for WSH. As leaders of the future, it would be interesting to note from their perspective how they envisage a better and safer workplace of tomorrow.
9.Through the sharing of information, ideas and experiences, I hope the Conference will inspire you to improve and transform safety and health at your workplace.
10.I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all partners for their support in making this Conference possible. It is through the forging of strong partnerships that we can progress collectively towards safer, healthier and more progressive workplaces.