Skip to main content

Public Consultation on Proposed Enhancements to the Workplace Safety and Health Act

06 January 2011

1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) invites members of the public to give feedback on the proposed enhancements to the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA). A public consultation document, summarising the key features of the process, can be accessed on the REACH website over the next two weeks (06 Jan 2011 to 20 Jan 2011). This public consultation exercise follows discussions with industry stakeholders in early December 2010.

Key Principles of Proposed Enhancements

2. In 2005, Singapore adopted a new workplace safety and health (WSH) framework to achieve a quantum improvement in safety standards and outcomes. The WSHA was enacted in 2006 to support the new framework, replacing the former Factories Act. The WSHA enshrines the following three key pillars:
a. Reducing risks at source by requiring all stakeholders to eliminate or minimise the risks they create;
b. Greater industry ownership of WSH outcomes; and
c. Preventing accidents through higher penalties for poor safety management.
3. The scope of the WSHA initially mirrored that of the Factories Act, covering only those workplaces defined as a "factory", such as manufacturing plants, construction sites and shipyards. The coverage was extended to include six other sectors deemed as higher risk workplaces in March 20081. In March 2010, MOM announced that the coverage of the Act would be extended to all workplaces by September 2011.

4. Apart from amending the coverage of the WSHA to extend it to all workplaces, MOM is proposing other amendments to the Act. These amendments seek to:
a. Ensure that the WSHA framework remains flexible, by refining the types of workplaces defined as factories, which are subject to more stringent regulatory requirements;

b. Ensure that all stakeholders play their part in ensuring the safety and health of workers and other people affected by their work, by clarifying the duties and obligations of principals2 and persons at work; and

c. Provide MOM with additional powers to investigate instances of diseases arising from exposure to risk factors at work.
5. MOM welcomes all feedback to help ensure that the proposed WSHA enhancements bring about a safer and healthier workplace for all workers.

1 These six sectors are (i) healthcare activities; (ii) hotels and restaurants; (iii) landscape care and maintenance service activities; (iv) services allied to the transportation of goods; (v) veterinary activities; and (vi) water supply, sewerage and waste management.

2. A principal is a person who engages a sub-contractor to supply labour or perform work.