Oral Answer by Mr Zaqy Mohamad Minister of State for Manpower on Spike in Workplace Fatalities and Injuries and Total WSH
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1967 FOR THE SITTING ON 3 FEBRUARY 2020
QUESTION NO. 3425 FOR ORAL ANSWER
NCMP: Associate Professor Daniel Goh Pei Siong
To ask the Minister for Manpower whether there has been a spike in workplace fatalities and injuries in the past year, and whether the Total Workplace Safety and Health approach is failing.
- Contrary to the member’s concern, the workplace fatal injury rate was maintained at the historic low level achieved in 2018. However, preliminary data shows that the non-fatal major injury rate crept up slightly in 2019 when compared with 2018. More details will be released in the 2019 National WSH Statistics Report by end February 2020.
- For perspective, it is useful to note the steady improvements in the workplace fatal injury rate in the last two decades. [see Chart 1]
- Likewise, the major injury rate has also improved. [see Chart 2]
- Overall, Singapore‘s workplace safety compares favourably with many developed countries. Our workplace fatality rate is the lowest in Asia, and is comparable to countries like Denmark and Finland. Improvements have also taken place against the backdrop of heavy reliance on foreign workers in sectors most prone to workplace fatalities such as the construction, marine and process industries. Much attention is put on helping newly arrived foreign workers to practise good WSH habits.
- As outlined in the WSH 2028 roadmap, Singapore aims to achieve and sustaining a workplace fatal injury rate of less than 1.0 per 100,000 workers by 2028. This is an ambitious goal reflecting our commitment to workers’ safety. Amongst OECD member countries, only four have achieved this level of performance on a sustained basis.
- One key challenge in realising this aspiration is the risk of increasing ill-health among the workforce, including of chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. If they are not well-managed, these conditions can contribute to work accidents. To reduce accidents in a sustainable manner, we will need more attention on supporting health, not just improving safety.