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23 offenders caught ferrying workers on lorries without canopies or with inadequate canopies in first half of 2021

SINGAPORE: For the first half of 2021, 23 offenders were caught ferrying workers on lorries that did not have canopies or did not have one that was large enough to shelter all workers, Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor said on Monday (Aug 2).

She was responding to a question from MP Louis Ng (PAP-Nee Soon), who asked about recommended measures for employers to ensure that workers transported in lorries remain dry if it rains during the journey.

Since 2011, all lorries used to ferry passengers in their rear decks are required to be fitted with canopies so as to provide shelter, including against inclement weather.

Failure to do so is an offence under the Road Traffic Act, with first-time offenders liable for a fine of up to S$1,000, an imprisonment term of not more than three months, or both. These penalties are doubled for repeat offenders.

READ: Transport Ministry reviewing safety measures for lorries ferrying workers: Amy Khor

Dr Khor said authorities take such offences “seriously” and that they have been "actively enforcing" the regulations. The authorities “will not hesitate to take stern action" against offenders.

Members of the public can also call the Land Transport Authority’s hotline to report any non-compliance with these regulations.

Dr Khor said all employers are strongly encouraged to do their part in ensuring the welfare of their workers.

In the event of severe weather where the canopy alone may not provide sufficient protection, employers can take the initiative to install rain covers, which are typically waterproof canvas tarps installed on the sides of the rear deck.

"Where possible, employers should also consider putting on hold such trips until heavy rain has passed," she added.

READ: ‘I felt like I was going to fall off’: Lorry rides and the push to make it safer for workers

The practice of ferrying workers by lorries came under the spotlight again earlier this year following separate accidents that left workers injured.

There were two reported accidents in April and in one of them, which occurred on the Pan Island Expressway, two people died.

In May, the Ministry of Transport said it was “undertaking a review” of the measures for using lorries to ferry workers to improve safety.

Source: CNA/sk(mi)

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