SINGAPORE: Even as Singapore's workplace fatality rate has fallen to a record low, the country still lags behind other nations and needs to do more to ensure its workers can work in safe and healthy conditions, said Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan in Parliament on Monday (Mar 5).
Mr Tan announced the formation of a new Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) tripartite committee during the Ministry of Manpower's Committee of Supply debates.
The WSH2028 Tripartite Strategy Committee will chart out a comprehensive plan for WSH development over the next 10 years. It will be chaired by Mr John Ng, CEO of Singapore LNG Corporation and a WSH Council Member.
"Our workplace fatality dropped to 1.2 (per 100,000 workers) last year ... but we should not be complacent. We are still lagging behind other countries with a workplace fatality rate of less than one," he said.
WSH2028 will succeed WSH 2018 set 10 years ago with the aim of reducing the workplace fatal injury rate from 2.8 per 100,000 workers in 2008 to 1.8 by this year.
"We can do more. Over the next 10 years, we must aspire to provide our workers with workplaces that are among the safest and healthiest in the world," he added.
The committee will study five broad areas of workplace safety and workplace health.
It will look at the strengthening WSH ownership among companies and workers, and study how it can influence all employees - from senior management to rank-and-file workers - to being more committed to the cause.
It will also look at increasing integration of of workplace safety with workplace health, as well as deepen the WSH capabilities of companies and workers.
Additionally, it will also look at strengthening partnerships with different stakeholders to promote and reinforce positive WSH behaviour, and review the regulatory regime to ensure that it remains effective without excessive burden on compliant companies.
The committee will start work in April, and plans to submit its report in a year's time.
Apart from making workplaces safer and healthier, Mr Tan also spoke on making them more age-friendly.
He announced that a Tripartite Standard on Age-friendly Workplace Practices has been developed and will share more when it is launched next month.
"What we should all do is to work towards a workplace culture where older workers feel valued, and companies think about the needs of older workers, when they put in place policies and practices," Mr Tan said.