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Enhanced Safety Training Regime for Workers in Metalworking Sector Changes to Take Effect from 1 October 2009

From 1 October 2009, workers from the metalworking industry will come under an enhanced safety training regime to raise their abilities to tackle safety issues at work.

Current Regime

2.   Since 1 June 2003 , workers in the metalworking sector are required to attend and pass the Metalworking Safety Orientation Course (MSOC), to ensure they have the requisite knowledge on workplace safety. To ensure that workers stay current on their safety knowledge, they are also required to re-take and pass the MSOC every three years.

Enhanced Safety Training Regime

3.   The Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSHC) has proposed various enhancements to the safety training regime for workers in the metalworking industry, to develop stronger WSH capabilities. Similar changes have already been implemented in the construction and marine sectors in July 2007 . The Ministry of Manpower supports these changes and will introduce the passing of the MSOC test as a criterion for work permit issuance and renewal for metalworking foreign workers. This is the current arrangement for the construction and marine sectors.

4.   The changes are summarised in the following table:

Current Regime New Regime
New workers
The MSOC is compulsory for all new workers in the metalworking sector but it is not tied to Work Permit (WP) issuance for foreign workers.

Work permits for new foreign workers tied to attendance and passing of MSOC test

Foreign workers will have to take the MSOC within 14 calendar days of their arrival, failing which their WPs will not be issued. They are to pass the MSOC within three months of arrival or the WP issued will be revoked.

Frequency of re-certification
All workers are required to be re-certified and pass the MSOC test every three years.

Frequency of re-certification to depend on workers' experience

  • For the first six years, workers will be required to be re-certified and pass the MSOC test every two years.
  • For workers who have worked six or more years, they will only be required to be re-certified and pass the MSOC test every four years.

The above requirements must be met, failing which, WPs will not be renewed for foreign workers.

Validity of MSOC certification
All workers are required to maintain a valid MSOC certification at all times. For foreign workers, in addition to maintaining a valid MSOC certification, WPs will not be renewed if the remaining validity of the MSOC is less than a month at the point of renewal application.
Re-certification requirements
Workers are required to attend the course and pass the test at every re-certification attempt.

Attending MSOC only required for workers who fail re-certification assessment

  • For workers undergoing re-certification, they may sit for and pass the MSOC test without undergoing the course on the first attempt.
  • If they fail the first test, they will be required to attend the course and pass a re-test to be re-certified.
MSOC Content and Test

The content covers only workplace safety.

The test comprises 30 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) on workplace safety.

New MSOC to educate and test workers on their rights and responsibilities

In addition to the 30 MCQs on workplace safety, there will be 10 additional MCQs on worker rights and responsibilities under the WSH Act and other relevant employment legislation such as the Employment Act.

Part of WSH 2018 strategy to raise WSH capabilities of workers

5.   WSH Council Chairman, Mr Lee Tzu Yang, explained the rationale for the enhanced safety training regime. He said, "Workers are on the frontline everyday and are the ones most frequently exposed to hazards at work. Similar enhancements implemented in the construction and marine sectors in July 2007 have helped to raise the capabilities of workers in the two sectors. The Council hopes that the same improvements can be made for the workers in the metalworking sector. Improving worker training will enhance their capability to implement and follow safety measures at the work place. We also want to remind employers that they have to provide regular and relevant training for their workers."

6.   Supporting the enhancements on workers' WSH training, MOM's Commissioner for WSH, Mr Ho Siong Hin, remarked, "MOM welcomes these enhancements recommended by the Council and will tie them to the issuance of work permits for foreign workers employed in the sector. Those who do not follow the requirements to provide adequate training for their workers may have their work permits revoked by the Ministry. These changes will help workers on the ground develop better WSH capabilities to recognise what constitutes safe or unsafe work and thus improve workplace safety."

7.   The unions and various industry associations, including the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME), Singapore Manufacturer's Federation (SMa) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), had been consulted on the enhancements to the safety training regime and given their support. Please refer to Annex A for supporting quotes by these organisations.

8.   Employers can find out more about the enhanced safety training regime via the following platforms: