Inter-agency advisory on safe transportation of workers
Jointly issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Ministry of Transport (MOT), Land Transport Authority (LTA), Singapore Police Force (SPF), and Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
1. This advisory sets out practical guidance for employers and workers on new and existing legal requirements and recommended practices for the industry to enhance safety of workers on lorry transportation.
A. General requirements for lorries transporting workers in rear decks
New requirements under the Road Traffic Act
From 1 January 2023, newly registered lorries are required to be fitted with rain covers on all non-enclosed sides of the canopy, with at least one side being transparent. Requirement of rain covers will apply to in-use light lorries1 from 1 July 2023 and to in-use heavy lorries2 from 1 January 2024. Photo example can be found in Annex A.
Existing requirements under the Road Traffic Act
- All front passenger seat(s) in the lorry’s cabin must be occupied before workers can be transported in the rear deck.
- Lorries must not transport an excess number of workers in the rear deck based on the minimum space requirement of 0.372m2or 4 ft2 per seated worker.
- A Maximum Passenger Capacity (MPC) label with white characters on a black background must be displayed on the right side of the rear tailboard indicating the maximum number of workers that can be transported.
- Any loads being transported must be properly secured, including lashing to prevent side lateral movement or when vehicle is braking, and should not pose any danger to the workers in the rear deck or other road users.
- Lorries used to transport workers must be fitted with canopies and protective side railings of at least 700mm from the rear deck and at least 300mm from the top of the sideboards.
B. Requirements and recommendations for employers
New requirements for employers from 1 January 2023 under the Workplace Safety and Health Act
Employers of dual role drivers (defined as a person required or authorised by the employer of that person to drive a lorry with workers in the rear deck, where driving such a lorry is not the primary work that the person is required to perform) must:
- Provide at least a 30-minute rest period for dual role drivers who have worked for at least 6 hours in their work shift immediately prior to driving workers in lorry rear decks.
Employers of lorry drivers who drive workers in the rear deck must:
- Designate a person as a “vehicle buddy” to sit in the cabin beside the driver at all times while the driver is driving workers in lorry rear decks.
- Brief the “vehicle buddy” of his/her role to take reasonable measures to ensure that the driver is alert and able to drive in a safe manner at all times (e.g. check that the driver is fit to drive before driving off and that driver remains alert while driving).
Existing requirements for employers under the Employment Act
- Employers should not require drivers of lorries with workers in rear decks to work for more than 12 hours a day including overtime, driving or any other work activities.
- Employers are not allowed to deduct salary of drivers for being behind schedule and employers should not make workers consent to such deductions.
2. To improve workers’ safety, employers should consider using other modes of transportation (e.g. buses) where possible. Where it is not practical to use alternative modes of transportation, employers should ensure the safety of workers travelling in lorries by adopting the recommended practices to ensure safety of the driver and all passengers in the lorry.
3. Employers should:
- Set the right tone and culture to emphasise the importance of safety, so that workers do not feel pressured to rush;
- Ensure safe means of access and egress to and from the lorry deck;
- Avoid ferrying workers together with heavy goods/equipment;
- Avoid incentives or disincentives that may encourage drivers to rush or drive recklessly;
- Be prepared to activate a back-up driver where necessary; and
- Provide avenues for reporting unsafe driving (e.g. display hotline number to report unsafe driving).
4. Employers are encouraged to:
- Reward good driving behaviors. For example, incentive bonus for clean driving history (e.g. 0 demerit point) or achieving accident-free record for a period of time;
- Deploy vehicular safety technologies (VSTs)3 to improve driving safety. This can include (a) Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) to enhance the situational awareness of drivers and provide warning of collision risks, (b) Driver Status Monitoring System (DSMS) to detect driver fatigue and distraction such as mobile device usage, and (c) Driver Behavior Management System (DBMS) to monitor reckless driving behavior (e.g. harsh turning, acceleration or braking); and
- Provide raincoats and rain boots to workers to protect them against inclement weather.
C. Requirements and recommendations for drivers
Existing requirements for drivers under the Road Traffic Act
- Drivers must always drive within the posted road speed limit or the vehicle speed limit of 60km/h, whichever is lower.
- Drivers must not hold in his or her hand and use mobile devices or other devices (e.g. tablets) while driving (Requirement does not apply to wearable devices).
- Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts.
5. Drivers should adopt safe and good driving habits, have sufficient rest and not rush. If the driver feels unfit to drive (e.g. unwell, drowsy from medication), the driver or the vehicle buddy should inform his/her supervisor or employer immediately and seek the necessary medical treatment.
6. Drivers should:
- Before driving,
- Perform daily checks on the general condition of the vehicle.
- Check that the workers are seated properly and have their seat belts fastened (where applicable) before moving off.
- When driving,
- Always stay focused on the road.
- Adopt safe driving habits including:
- No harsh turning, acceleration, and braking;
- Slow down when approaching road humps; and
- During adverse weather conditions, drive slower, keep a longer safe distance from the vehicle in front as longer braking distance may be required, and turn on headlights.
- When vehicle stops at a destination,
- Pull handbrake and make sure vehicle comes to a complete stop before letting passengers alight; and
- Switch on hazard lights if stopping at the roadside.
D. Recommendations for vehicle buddies
8. Vehicle buddies should:
- Remind the driver to drive safely (e.g. stay within the speed limits, no reckless driving);
- Assist the driver to look out for obstruction, hazard, or danger; and
- Assist the driver with navigating to the destination if asked, to allow the driver to focus on driving.
E. Requirements and recommendations for workers in lorry rear decks
Existing requirements for workers in lorry rear decks under the Road Traffic Act
Workers in lorry rear decks must be properly seated and
- Not allow any part of his/her body to project beyond the side of the vehicle.
- Not be seated more than 1.1m above the rear deck.
9. Workers in lorry rear decks should:
- Board and alight the lorry with care. Do not rush or jump down from the lorry;
- Not move around when the lorry is moving;
- Report defects on vehicle to employers or driver so that timely repairs can be carried out;
- Report unsafe driving to their employers or the authority; and
- Report unsafe behavior of other lorry passengers during commute to their employers.
Workers and members of public may approach MOM, Traffic Police, Land Transport Authority or the Migrant Workers Centre to report any unsafe behaviors:
Find out more information on the Productivity Solutions Grants (PSG)
Annex A - Example of a lorry fitted with rain covers on all non-enclosed sides of the canopy, with at least one side being transparent
- Light lorries refer to lorries with maximum laden weight not exceeding 3,500kg
- Heavy lorries refer to lorries with maximum laden weight exceeding 3,500kg
- SMEs can tap on Productivity Solutions Grants (PSG) under Fleet Safety Management System to adopt such technology. PSG supports pre-approved solutions with up to 70% grant support, capped at $30,000 per firm.