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Oral Answer by Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State for Manpower to Parliamentary Question on mandating hours of work and rest for drivers

Notice paper no. 634 of 2017 for the sitting on 8 May 2017

Question no. 1121 for oral answer

MP: Ms Joan Pereira

To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider mandating the hours of work and rest for drivers in line with recommendations by the International Labour Organisation such as that of not exceeding nine hours of work daily and a break after four hours of continuous driving.

  1. We take a holistic approach to ensuring health and safety of all our workers, including drivers. Under the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA), employers are required to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of their workers at work. WSHA also requires employers to provide workers with a safe working environment and adequate instruction, training and supervision to perform their duties safely. 
  2. More specifically for drivers, the Workplace Safety and Health Council has issued the Workplace Traffic Safety Management Guidelines to promote safe driving. These include ensuring drivers are trained adequately to drive specific classes of vehicles and have the right driving habits such as wearing of seat belts and keeping within speed limits. The guidelines also provide recommendations on preventing driver’s fatigue and promoting good health practices. For example, limiting shift work to no more than 12 hours including overtime, encouraging drivers to take short and scheduled breaks such as 15 minutes of rest for every two hours of driving, and educating drivers on dangers and symptoms of fatigue. Failure to comply with these guidelines can be used as an aggravating factor against employers in court in the event of accidents and injuries. 
  3. The Workplace Safety and Health Council also shares best practices, case studies and safety messages with industry through the WSH bulletins regularly. Together with Traffic Police, the Council also helps high risk companies to better manage and improve their safety measures for their drivers. 
  4. While there are still unfortunate cases of work-related traffic accidents, they are on a downward trend in recent years. The number of drivers or riders killed in work-related traffic accidents has declined from 14 in 2013, to 5 in 2016. 
  5. We will continue to encourage companies to put in place measures to improve the safety and health of their drivers.