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2nd Meeting of the International Advisory Panel for Workplace Safety and Health

Panel commends Singapore for good progress over past two years

Issues eight recommendations on building safety and health culture, raising competencies and workplace health management

Suggests Singapore has potential to serve as regional centre for WSH expertise and sharing of ideas; welcomes plans for Institute dedicated to WSH

Following its second meeting from 30 to 31 October 2008, the International Advisory Panel (IAP) for Workplace Safety and Health (WSH)1 commended Singapore for the great strides it had made in improving WSH outcomes since its inaugural meeting in November 2006. The panel experts lauded Singapore for its achievements over the past two years, including:

  • The significant reduction in the workplace fatality rate from 4.9 per 100,000 workers in 2005 to 2.9 in 2007;
  • Singapore's subsequent decision to set a more ambitious goal to lower the workplace fatality rate to 1.8 per 100,000 workers by 2018; and
  • The elevation of the former WSH Advisory Committee to a new WSH Council with statutory powers to raise standards and drive industry ownership of WSH outcomes.

2. During the two-day meeting, the IAP engaged government officials, members of the WSH Council and other industry leaders in discussions on WSH developments in Singapore. These discussions centred on strategies jointly developed by the Ministry of Manpower and the WSH Council to achieve Singapore's new WSH goals, including (i) the development of a progressive and pervasive safety and health culture in Singapore; (ii) building competencies to manage WSH across all levels of the workforce; and (iii) improving the management of workplace health. Panel members also visited a local training institute and two manufacturing companies, to get a better sense of the business environment and operating conditions on the ground.

Key IAP Recommendations

3. At an industry plenary session attended by some 100 industry leaders today, the Panel unveiled a report with eight key recommendations on the strategies discussed during the meeting. The detailed recommendations are contained in the full report at Annex B.

4. The IAP supported Singapore's new national WSH plan – WSH 2018 – and its inclusion of a new strategic outcome to develop a "Progressive and Pervasive Safety and Health Culture". The IAP suggested that Singapore has the potential to serve as a regional centre for WSH expertise and the sharing of ideas. The IAP endorsed Singapore's proposal to develop an Institute dedicated to WSH that would, among other things, provide world-class training and consultancy services to industry and conduct applied research. The IAP also endorsed Singapore's proposals to improve the management of workplace health.

Ministry of Manpower's Response to IAP Recommendations

5. In his closing remarks at the industry plenary session, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Manpower, Mr Hawazi Daipi, thanked the IAP members for their advice and recommendations. He said that the Ministry would incorporate these recommendations into the draft consultation paper on WSH 2018. The consultation paper is targeted to be released in about a month's time.

1 The IAP was formed by Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in 2006 for Singapore to tap on the expertise and experience of international experts to raise WSH standards. The IAP is chaired by the Acting Minister for Manpower, Mr Gan Kim Yong, and co-chaired by the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Manpower, Mr Hawazi Daipi. The IAP comprises renowned WSH experts with wide-ranging regulatory and industry experience. Please see Annex A for the profiles of these international experts.