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Stiffer Enforcement Penalties and Enhanced Support Programmes to Address Workplace Accidents

  1. In the first four months of 2016, there have been 28 workplace fatalities, six more compared to the same period last year. 12 are from the Construction sector and five are from the Marine sector. The Ministry of Manpower is deeply concerned about the high number of workplace fatalities despite stepped up inspection and enforcement, including the most recent targeted enforcement operation, codenamed “Operation Harrier”1, which has been ongoing since 1 April 2016. 

  2. To arrest the decline in WSH performance, MOM will introduce stiffer enforcement penalties, balanced with enhanced support programmes to help employers take greater ownership on Workplace Safety and Health (WSH). 

  3. Stiffer Enforcement Penalties 

    1. Tightening the conditions to lift Stop-Work Order (SWO)

    2. With immediate effect, the minimum SWO period will be increased from two to three weeks as new conditions will be imposed before a SWO is lifted. These conditions include (i) Conduct of refresher training on all areas of weaknesses, (ii) Re-audit of WSH Management System, (iii) Communication of findings and lessons learnt to all workers and (iv) Enhancement of “Site Coordination Meetings” to drive improvements to on-site coordination and supervision of work activities. 

    3. Strengthening Business Under Surveillance Programme (BUS)

    4. Companies issued with a SWO or have a workplace fatality will be immediately placed into the BUS programme. Exit criteria for BUS will be tighten to include two new conditions, (i) the requirement to inculcate the practice of “Last Minute Risk Assessment” (LMRA) among workers and (ii) the requirement to submit a Continual Improvement Plan which would be monitored post exit from BUS.

    5. Temporary Suspension of Access to Foreign Workers 

    6. Companies issued with a SWO or have a workplace fatality may have their work pass privileges for hiring new foreign workers temporarily suspended until improvements and rectifications on their systemic issues are addressed. 

    Enhanced Support Programmes   

  4. MOM will continue to work closely with the industry to build WSH capabilities and raise safety standards. On this front, MOM will work with the WSH Council to provide free support to companies that need assistance in improving their WSH systems through the Safety Compliance Assistance Visits Plus (SCAV+). Under this programme, certified WSH professionals will work with company management to identify WSH lapses and recommend appropriate control measures to minimize risks. MOM will also intensify outreach efforts to the workers by partnering the Singapore Institution of Safety Officers (SISO) to promptly communicate the learning points from fatal accidents to every worker through the network of WSH officers.

  5. Reporting WSH issues to MOM 

  6. MOM urges employers, contractors and occupiers to take all reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of workers, including conducting proper risk assessments and WSH training, and ensuring that workers have sufficient rest periods. Under the WSH Act, companies that fail to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of their workers can be fined up to $500,000 for the first offence. 

  7. Members of the public who are aware of poor WSH practices can call the MOM safety hotline at 6317 1111 or email to report these practices. All tip-offs will be kept strictly confidential.


  1. Ops Harrier targets the Construction and Marine sectors and focuses on safety provisions at workplaces, covering work-at-height, lifting operations, onsite traffic management, formwork at construction worksites, and confined spaces. This operation also looks into the implementation of permit-to-work systems and safe work procedures for high risk activities and systemic lapses that may be present in workplaces.