Oral Answer to PQ on Firms Penalised During Workplace Safety Enforcement Operations
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1550 OF 2022 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 29 NOV 2022
QUESTION NO. 3891 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye
To ask the Minister for Manpower of the 558 firms penalised during the recent workplace safety enforcement operations between 15 August 2022 and 17 October 2022, (a) how many firms are repeat offenders who have received penalties for workplace safety infringements previously; and (b) what is being done to prevent repeated safety breaches from happening.
This enforcement operation was aimed at reducing slips, trips and falls (STFs) at the workplaces, which was the leading cause of major injuries in the first half of 2022. The operation uncovered common contraventions such as STF hazards not identified during risk assessments, control measures not implemented for poorly maintained flooring, and workers wearing inadequate footwear. All these contraventions required very basic mitigations for the workers’ safety.
2. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issued a total of 12 stop-work orders (SWO), over 200 composition fines and close to 1,600 notices of non-compliances to 558 companies in the Construction, Manufacturing, Transportation & Storage and Accommodation & Food Services sectors.
3. Despite the Heightened Safety Period and the repeated calls by the Ministry, slightly more than half of the 558 companies had received penalties for workplace safety and health (WSH) offences previously. These repeat WSH offenders received stiffer penalties, such as higher composition fines compared to first time offenders. Those with poor WSH performance were also inspected more regularly. For instance, DA Engineering Pte Ltd, a repeat WSH offender, was issued with a SWO and fined a total of $8,000 as this enforcement operation continued to uncover multiple unsafe conditions in its workplace.
4. The Ministry recognises that tangible improvements to unsafe WSH practices go beyond issuance of penalties. For companies with fatal or major injuries, MOM requires them to engage external auditors to conduct a thorough review of their WSH processes and implement measures to prevent recurrence. The WSH Council has also strengthen the support for companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who need help to improve their WSH practices and processes through StartSAFE. Under the StartSAFE programme, SMEs have access to WSH consultants who can provide professional advice and hands-on guidance on how to identify WSH risks, implement good WSH practices and prevent recurrence of a WSH offence.