Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to Parliamentary Question on Managing Heat Stress for Workers
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1891 FOR THE SITTING ON 05 NOVEMBER 2019
QUESTION NO. 1500 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
NMP: Ms Anthea Ong
To ask the Minister for Manpower: (a) how does heat stress arising from climate change impact upon work productivity; (b) what is the number of heat stroke and dehydration cases in the last three years; (c) how does the Ministry ensure that employers in construction, marine and public works protect workers against excessive heat; (d) whether the Ministry will consider requiring employers to record incidents of heat stroke and dehydration; and (e) whether the Ministry will develop workplace guidelines on heat stress, including that requiring of higher water intake and longer rest periods for affected employees.
- In the last three years, 10 workers suffered injuries caused by heat stress or work-related heat disorders, of which one was fatal. They comprised less than 0.03% of all workplace injuries and occupational diseases in the same period.
- MOM together with the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council, has developed the WSH Guidelines on Managing Heat Stress in the Workplace. The guidelines inform employers to conduct risk assessments associated with heat stress and the precautionary actions they should take to prevent heat stress at work. These include acclimatising newly arrived workers who come from colder climates, providing regular rest breaks at shaded areas, making cool drinking water accessible, and educating workers on the symptoms and seriousness of heat-related disorders.
- The WSH Council has also been disseminating information on heat-related safety and health risks through its website, the WSH bulletin, as well as collaterals such as the Heat Stroke Card. Heat stress is also included in the WSH Council’s Total WSH Programme. Total WSH consultants are expected to advise companies on what they can do to protect workers from heat stress.
- Heat stroke and dehydration are already included in the types of work incidents that are reportable. From 1 Sep 2020, the reporting requirement will be extended to incidents that result in any instance of MC or light duty.