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'Vision Zero' outlined for upcoming work safety congress in Singapore

The country will host the triennial World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in 2017, where participants will work to advance the mindset that all injuries and ill-health arising from work are preventable. 

FRANKFURT, Germany: All injuries and ill-health arising from work are preventable, but realising this vision will require a “paradigm shift at every level of an organisation”, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Hawazi Daipi.

Such a point of view is known as "Vision Zero", and it will be a key theme at the 21st World Congress on Safety and Health at Work. The event will be hosted by Singapore at Marina Bay Sands from Sep 3 to 6 in 2017. It is the first time it will be held in Southeast Asia. 

Speaking at this year’s Congress in Frankfurt, Germany on Wednesday (Aug 27), Mr Hawazi said fulfilling Vision Zero will require a mindset shift from “one of fault finding, to one that focuses on finding solutions to prevent injuries and ill-health”. The Congress in Singapore will be an opportunity for participants to “share insights, learn from each other and work towards taking concrete actions to realise Vision Zero in our respective countries”, he added.

Singapore takes occupational safety and health very seriously, as “every death and injury means families suffer”, said Mr Hawazi. “We believe that government, employers and workers must do their best to instill safety consciousness and safe practices in all our workplaces.”

Singapore’s Workplace Safety and Health Institute also estimated that the economic costs of work-related injury and illness were equivalent to 3.2 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2011, he added. Good safety and health practices thus make business sense, “as it reduces costs, increases productivity and enhances corporate reputation”.

While Singapore has made progress in this area, “we are not resting on our laurels and are committed to doing more to improve our standards”, he said.  

Mr Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), added at this year’s Congress that his organisation will be introducing a new global initiative on occupational safety and health, and that he hopes to report on the progress of this endeavour in Singapore in 2017. 

Organised by the ILO, the International Social Security Association and a host nation every three years, the Congress is the largest Workplace Safety and Health event. It serves as a platform for experts from various sectors to exchange ideas. The 2017 edition in Singapore is expected to attract over 3,000 delegates.

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