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Comprehensive 10-Year Plans Launched to Improve Marine and Construction Safety

The Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower, have launched 10-year plans to improve Construction and Marine WSH standards. The plans were initiated in mid 2009 to develop key strategies to reduce fatalities in the sectors1 by half by 2013. They underwent extensive consultation with industry stakeholders before being finalised this month.

Overview of Construction sectoral plan

2. The construction sectoral plan was finalised following end of the public consultation in the middle of March 2010. It outlined four key strategies to address WSH issues in the sector. Several initiatives will be launched this year to improve the sector’s safety standards and enhance productivity. These will help, in part, to address the sector’s loss of almost 260,000 man-days due to serious incidents in 2009, a 20% increase from 2008. Please refer to Annex B1 for a summary of the plan and Annex B2 for the full construction plan.

Strategy one - Build strong WSH capabilities across all employee levels
Initiatives Develop six construction trades courses2
Achieve 100% implementation of “Design for Safety” (DFS) programme3 by public developers by 2013, and by private developers thereafter
Roll out a new accredited course to train Project Safety & Health Co-ordinator4. The 2-day course will be administered by accredited training providers and registration details will be available by May 2010.
Strategy two - Develop performance-based regime
Initiatives Include designers and developers into regulatory framework
Improved management of workplace health issues
Enhance self regulation through a new initiative titled “Safety & Health Active Review” (SHARe) through inter-company workplace visitations and sharing of best practices. This will start with the construction sites at the Marine Bay area from April 2010. See Annex B3 for as fact sheet on SHARe.
Setting industry standards - WSHC will develop several guidelines to benefit both the construction and marine sectors. These include the risk management guidelines and the “Struck by Falling Objects”5 guidelines.
Strategy three - Promote WSH benefits and integrate WSH into business
Initiatives Drive improvements through large organisations6
Put in place better assessment of safety and health management systems (through ConSASS7)
Strategy four - Create and build partnerships
Initiatives Intra-industry efforts specific to the construction sector
Cross-industry taskforces to derive good WSH practices from other sectors for application

6. WSH Council’s Marine Industries Committee Chairman Prof Poo Aun Neow reinforced his sector’s commitment to improve WSH standards. "Smaller and medium size shipyards that are not yet fully on board our WSH journey are a key focus area for our work ahead. We aim to get such yards to have better risk management in place to address key hazards. Bigger players must also continue to support their subcontractors and work closely with ship owners to manage work done in their yards. If we can close these gaps, we will be able to greatly improve marine safety and protect all our workers." Prof Poo said.

7. ASMI President Wong Weng Sun elaborated on how ASMI supports the plan, "The Association has launched an industry engagement programme called the Marine Industry Safety Engagement Team or MIndSET to adopt a more proactive approach towards enhancing WSH performance in the marine industry as well as to take greater ownership of WSH outcomes. MIndSET will provide the platform for ASMI members to share WSH ideas, implementations, best practises and experiences across the industry. WSH improvement has always been a key focus area of ASMI and we will continue to work closely with the WSH Council and the industry stakeholders in this priority area."

Comments from WSHC and MOM

8. WSH Council Chairman Lee Tzu Yang highlighted the Council’s role in the sectoral plans. "The Council's focus will be two-pronged. We will work hard to roll out the initiatives developed under the marine and construction sectoral plans as well as build our knowledge, outreach and capabilities in new sectors. Together, we can all play our respective roles to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives and up WSH standards." said Mr Lee.

9. MOM's Commissioner for WSH Ho Siong Hin welcomed the new sectoral plans. He said, "MOM has worked with the WSH Council and industry to develop a comprehensive suite of initiatives in the two sectoral plans. They will need the strong support of all parties, including the industry as a whole, individual companies, WSH Council and MOM. Companies should pay special attention to training their workforce to better manage WSH. Education will go a long way to help us prevent incidents at work."

10. Industry stakeholders can visit the WSH Council website for more information on the sectoral plans.

1 WSH Statistics Report 2009 (Annex A) shows construction and marine sectors accounting for 63% of fatalities.

2 The courses on electrical works and plumbing and piping will be launched later this year.

3 Please see more information about DFS HERE.

4 These co-ordinators will help to implement and manage the entire DFS programme for construction worksites.

5 “Struck by falling objects” is the second highest contributing cause of work fatalities after "Falls from height". It accounted for 21 fatalities in 2009 (or 30% of all fatalities), a 50% increase from 14 fatalities in 2008. The marine and construction sector accounts for 60% of these cases.

6 WSH Council will work with key construction players to promote and expand participation of all contractors and subcontractors in bizSAFE programme to ensure basic competency in risk assessment and 100% implementation of risk management across sector.

7 Please see more information about ConSASS HERE.

8 Shipyards must ensure adequate oversight and coordination of the work of the ship crew, who are based in the shipyards on a short term basis and relatively unfamiliar with the shipyard environment.

9 The marine sector has co-developed 13 marine trades with WSH Council and WDA to raise the safety training of marine workers while carrying out work in these trades such as scaffolding and electrical work. About 2,000 workers, mostly from the larger shipyards, have undergone these courses so far.

Annex A - Workplace Safety and Health Report 2009
Annex B1 - Executive Summary of Implementing WSH 2018 for Construction Sector
Annex B2 - Implementing WSH 2018 for the Construction Sector in Singapore
Annex B3 - Fact sheet on Safety and Health Active Review (SHARe)
Annex C1 - Executive Summary of Implementing WSH 2018 for Marine Sector
Annex C2 - Implementing WSH 2018 for Marine Sector in Singapore