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Marine industries, contractors' associations support Safety Time Out initiative

This follows a call by the Workplace Safety and Health Council for firms to immediately review their safety procedures due to the rising number of workplace accident fatalities.

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Contractors Association (SCAL) and Association of Singapore Marine Industries are rallying their members to implement a Safety Time Out exercise.

This follows a call by the Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSH Council), for firms to review their safety procedures and control measures in the wake of a rising number of workplace accident deaths.

This year, there were 22 such fatalities from the period of Jan 1 to Apr 2, up from 18 in the same period a year ago. The number included two new SMRT employees who died after being struck by a train near Pasir Ris MRT station last month.

The bulk of the accidents took place in the construction sector and many involved working at heights. 

On Tuesday (Apr 5) itself, an accident at a construction site at Mattar Road saw a crane tilted precariously at a 45-degree angle. No one was hurt in the incident.

SCAL will be sending out circulars to its nearly 3,000 members to take time off their daily work routine to review safety procedures. 

"Safety is an ongoing process,” said Mr Kenneth Loo, president of the SCAL. “I think we need to inculcate a safety culture amongst our stakeholders. Safety has to be drilled down from the top. We always encourage our members, especially the management to take personal interest in safety of their worksites."

At least one firm Boustead Projects has been sending its construction workers for training in performing work at heights. Workers are taught to rest their legs on a suspension loop in a safety harness if they fall. This will help reduce pressure and prevent suspension trauma.

Mr Andy Ng, safety manager at Boustead Projects said the company actively tracks trends in safety incidents to identify training needs. "Our safety advocates will with a checklist look at activities, observe the workers, and give ratings accordingly to rate the workers - the number of unsafe acts, the number of safe acts, and of course the environment."

The Association of Singapore Marine Industries meantime said it will be sharing lessons learnt from prior accidents to raise safety awareness and prevent recurrence.