04 May 2023
Opening Address by Mr Abu Bakar Bin Mohd Nor,
Chairman, Workplace Safety and Health Council,
at the National Safety Conference 2023
on 4 May 2023
Mr Ameerali Abdeali, Honorary President, National Safety Council of Singapore (NSCS),
Mr Ong Pak Shoon, President, NSCS,
Distinguished Guests, Speakers, and Debaters,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good morning, everyone. I am honoured to be part of the National Safety Conference 2023. I would like to congratulate the National Safety Council of Singapore for organising today’s event, and taking an active role in facilitating, promoting, and developing safety in all areas of life in Singapore.
Establishing Safety at the Workplace
2. Today’s Conference’s theme of “Workplace Safety Culture Starts at Home”, highlights the close relationship between safety beliefs and practices at home and at the workplace. Our attitude to safety at home will affect how we perceive and practice safety at the workplace, and vice versa.
3. I am sure many of us have experienced the occasional slip when walking on a freshly mopped surface, or even a trip over our children’s toys scattered on the floor. We face similar risks at the workplace. In fact, Slips, Trips, and Falls, or STFs for short, is the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in 2022, accounting for around one-third of all of them. We must remember that each worker is someone’s loved one. No one should get hurt and we all deserve to go home safely. We need to look out for our colleagues and workers, and proactively take steps to prevent incidents such as STFs, and establish a safer workplace for everyone.
Generating Willingness and Imbuing knowledge for Sustainable WSH Improvement
4. During the eighth Meeting of the International Advisory Panel in January this year, the recommendations aimed at reducing workplace incidents focused on two areas:
a) Generating stronger willingness of employers and workers to embrace WSH; and
b) Strengthening knowledge and awareness of stakeholders to better manage WSH risks.
5. To curb workplace incidents, all of us need to first be willing to take responsibility and ensure that we do everything we can and do it right, to keep each other safe. Willingness is when ownership is embedded deep within, and everyone is naturally motivated to improve safety practices. If we proactively manage safety hazards at home to prevent our loved ones from getting into accidents, the same must also be done at workplaces.
6. Motivation is only half of the puzzle. Having a sound understanding of the know-hows and applying such knowledge correctly is key to preventing accidents. At home, we use proper housekeeping techniques so that we can do our chores safely. The same mindset should also be applied at work, such as knowing how to correctly lift heavy objects, to prevent injuries.
7. The WSH Council works closely with our industry stakeholders to develop and disseminate resources such as guidelines, case studies, posters and pictograms. We are also rolling out more SME-centric materials focused on hotspots such as STFs, working at height and vehicular safety. If you require these resources, you can download them from the WSH Council’s website.
8. In the event that you need more assistance on WSH, you can tap on the WSH Council’s StartSAFE programme. We will send a WSH consultant to help you identify WSH risks and implement good WSH practices for free.
9. The past year has been challenging for workplace safety. Even as we gear ourselves up to exit the Heightened Safety Period (HSP) at the end of this month, safety must never take a back seat. Safety does not stray from our minds at the start of the day when we head to our workplaces, or when we take our leave for home in the evenings.
10. I urge you to continue to stay vigilant, and the WSH Council remains committed to supporting you and your companies in improving your workplace safety standards. With this, I wish you an insightful Conference ahead.