20 Feb 2023
Opening Address by Mr Silas Sng,
Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health,
Ministry of Manpower at the
WSH Training Providers’ Forum 2023 on
20 February 2022
Partners from SkillsFuture Singapore,
Singapore Accreditation Council,
Workplace Safety and Health Training Providers,
Ladies and gentlemen.
1. Good morning. I am happy to be back once again at the annual Training Providers’ Forum.
Key changes to Singapore’s training landscape
2. Over the past few years, we have made improvements to our WSH training landscape.
3. First, to strengthen the training ecosystem, the WSH Council collaborated with SkillsFuture Singapore to conduct a Call for Proposal to select training providers for certain WSH courses. This ensured that the training providers who were selected had met stringent training criteria to give quality training. It also allowed the number of training providers to remain lean but still sufficient to meet industry training demand. To date, 3 such exercises have been carried out since 2015.
4. Second, we incorporated experiential learning into the Construction Safety Orientation Course for workers in November 2022, to better acquaint and familiarise workers with common hazards in a typical construction worksite. Through such experiential learning, workers could personally experience simulated workplace accidents under a safe environment. This raised workers’ awareness and encouraged them to be more proactive and vigilant.
5. At our 8th International Advisory Panel (IAP) for Workplace Safety and Health meeting last month, a few matters on WSH training were discussed.
6. We recognised that there is a role for mandatory foundational safety training, but employers are fundamentally responsible for safety training specific to the worksite context. The IAP thus recommended to inculcate a more pervasive training culture beyond the mandatory foundational WSH training for workers, and level up WSH practices on the ground.
7. So, one of the recommendations is for occupiers to introduce site-specific requirements in their workplaces. This would complement mandatory training requirements imposed on employers to ensure that their workers are adequately trained.
8. Next, to ensure that the top management and workers are kept up to date with their industry’s latest guidelines and areas of work, the IAP supported continuous learning such as refresher training. Such learning is crucial when there are new guidelines or code of practices, or where there is a change in process arising from an incident.
9. One recent development is the WSH Coordinator Refresher training to complement the existing course. Learners are updated on the latest WSH developments in key areas such as good WSH practices and effective management of contractors.
TPs play a key role in making training effective and relevant
10. As training providers, you have an important responsibility. The knowledge that you impart to workers will give them better awareness and understanding of WSH, as well as provide them with the know-how on preventing workplace accidents. You must teach well and give good lessons, such that your trainees understand and are able to apply the knowledge gained during training to their work.
11. More importantly, you help workers develop a strong sense of ownership within themselves, so that they can take care of their own safety and health as well as that of their fellow workers.
Review of bizSAFE service provider ecosystem
12. Early this month, my Ministry announced the extension of the Heightened Safety Period by another three months, with additional measures. One of which is a mandatory half-day in-person WSH training course under the bizSAFE programme for top executives, whose companies were found to have grave WSH lapses following serious or fatal workplace accidents.
13. Directionally, MOM and the WSH Council will continue to introduce training requirements on identified areas and gaps. We will be reviewing the bizSAFE service provider system to ensure that only training providers with proper governance, competent trainers and comprehensive training resources will be selected to deliver the training. Besides requiring relevant certificates and industry experience, training providers will be asked to demonstrate relevant competencies in WSH and training delivery through interview sessions.
14. In addition, the Ministry of Manpower and WSH Council intend to implement an audit regime, covering audit checks and verification visits on training providers, in the future. This is to ensure training providers are compliant to the Curriculum, Training and Assessment Guide requirements and upholding standards.
15. The theme for today’s forum is “WSH Ownership”. This is apt because training providers must take ownership in the conduct of their training. Today’s programme includes presenters from various professions and specialties to help build the capability and ownership of training providers. So I hope you will take back key learnings and share them with your fellow colleagues in the training fraternity.
16. Let us all stay committed to make Singapore one of the safest and healthiest workplaces in the world. Thank you.