Ministry Freezes Man-Year Entitlement For Two Greatearth Construction Worksites After Repeated Safety Violations
Disregard for worker safety and health in spite of repeated warnings at two Greatearth Construction worksites has led the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to freeze its Man-Year Entitlements (MYE)1
for access to foreign construction workers.
2. With the MYE freeze, Greatearth Construction and its subcontractors at the worksites at Oxley Rise and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 cannot employ new workers from non-traditional source (NTS) countries nor renew the work permits of existing NTS workers.
Background of Case
3. In December 2005, after many safety infringements were found at its worksites, MOM issued a warning letter to Greatearth Construction to improve its workplace safety and health (WSH) performance. MOM officials also met with the company's senior management to highlight concerns, and discuss ways to improve its WSH management. However, even after six months were given to Greatearth Construction to improve its WSH standards, subsequent checks at its worksites showed limited improvements. Very poor safety and health management were found at two worksites in particular.
Worksite at Oxley Rise/Clemenceau Avenue 4/Penang Road
4. In June 2006, this worksite was issued a partial Stop Work Order by MOM for unsafe scaffolding and formworks. While the Stop Work Order was subsequently lifted, Greatearth failed to sustain acceptable WSH standards. The same unsafe violations were uncovered during investigations when a worker fell from height2 on 20 July 2006. The multiple offences that MOM found, including open sides and lack of toe boards and guardrails on the scaffolds, resulted in the company being issued seven composition fines and a full Stop Work Order.
Worksite at Yio Chu Kang/Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4
5. In a separate inspection of this worksite in July 2006, the worksite was issued 12 composition fines and a full Stop Work Order for multiple unsafe conditions. This included similar violations of open sides, unsafe scaffolds and unstable formwork structures.
6. In light of the repeated violations, Mr Ho Siong Hin, Divisional Director of MOM's Occupational Safety & Health Division said, "Despite continuous efforts to engage Greatearth through regular meetings, inspections and assistance with action plans, MOM is concerned with the company's inability to ensure the safety of its workers. Until we see significant improvements, MOM will neither grant nor renew work permits for NTS foreign workers at these two worksites. Greatearth has since agreed to take action to improve its WSH standards. Its subsequent actions will determine the company's access to foreign employees for the rest of its 16 worksites. On MOM's part, we will continue to actively monitor and engage Greatearth Construction to improve its WSH management in a sustained manner."
7. The Ministry would like to remind all companies of the importance of workplace safety and health. MOM will act against errant companies, including rejecting work pass applications for foreign employees, if advice and warnings are not heeded.
1 The MYE Allocation System is a Work Permit allocation system for construction workers from the Non-Traditional Sources (NTS). MYEs are the total number of foreign workers a Main Contractor is entitled to employ based on the value of projects/contracts awarded by developers/owners, and are allocated in the form of the number of “man-years” required to complete a project.
2 The worker in this accident was hospitalized and survived the fall.