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Heightened Safety Period Measures to Address Spate of Workplace Fatalities


Starting today, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is introducing a slate of new measures to strengthen workplace safety and health (WSH) and improve WSH oversight. These new measures and a state of  “Heightened Safety” is needed in view of the concerning rise in workplace fatalities this year. MOM will work together with and support companies in taking greater ownership of WSH during the next six months of “Heightened Safety”, which may be extended if necessary. 

2 As of 1 September 2022, the number of workplace fatalities stands at 36 for 2022. This is very close to the 37 fatalities recorded in the whole of 2021. MOM recognises that some sectors are still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and many companies are catching up on delays in projects while others are expanding their operations as the economy reopens. Nevertheless, safety must remain a priority for all employers. Most employers support the call for stronger workplace safety and MOM will enable and support  employers to instil a strong safety culture and implement good safety practices. For companies that fall short on safety, MOM will increase the accountability of these companies and their senior management. MOM will implement the following measures to complement ongoing efforts (See Table 1):

a. Introduce a six-month “Heightened Safety” period from 1 September 2022 to 28 February 2023 during which: 

i. If MOM finds serious WSH lapses such as unsafe workplace conditions or poor risk controls following serious or fatal workplace accidents, we may debar companies from employing new foreign employees for up to three months and require Chief Executives to personally account to MOM and take responsibility for rectifications.

ii. Companies are required to conduct a mandatory Safety Time-Out  by allocating time to review their safety procedures and complete the Safety Time-Out activities (See Annex). The length of the STO should be sufficiently long to review risks corresponding to the scale of operations. Companies must conduct the STO between 1 September 2022 and 15 September 2022. Companies will be debarred from employing new foreign employees for one month if found to be non-compliant with the Safety Time-Out. 

b. Strengthen support for SMEs who need help to improve their WSH practices and processes, through the expansion of StartSAFE: Under the existing StartSAFE programme, small and medium enterprises have access to WSH consultants who can help companies identify WSH risks and implement good WSH practices. The costs of the WSH consultants are fully borne by MOM.  More companies are encouraged to apply for StartSAFE as a follow-up to the Safety Time-Out safety reviews.

c. Introduce targeted measures for the construction sector from 1 October 2022:

i. A new harmonised set of disqualification criteria across all public sector construction tenders to align the evaluation criteria and temporarily disqualify contractors with poor WSH performance from participating in these tenders ; 

ii. A Revised Demerit Point System , where the threshold for issuing demerit points will be lowered. This means that more demerit points will be issued for WSHA breaches and errant companies with consistently poor WSH performance will reach the penalty thresholds more quickly, after which they will be debarred from hiring foreign employees for up to 2 years.

d. Set up a Multi-Sectoral Workplace Safety Taskforce, advised by an external experts panel: Comprising representatives from key government agencies, this new taskforce will conduct sectoral deep dives into work practices and industry structures to strengthen safety practices and outcomes. The taskforce will be able to tap on ideas and advice from an external experts panel, comprising industry representatives and WSH consultants. Senior Minister of State for Manpower, Zaqy Mohamad, will chair the Taskforce, more details of which will be revealed in due course. Agencies involved will include the Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Trade and Industry.

3 MOM urges all employers and supervisors to place the utmost priority on the safety of their workers. All workers must also follow safety procedures, watch out for unsafe workplace practices, and bring them to the attention of supervisors and MOM. MOM understands that as the economy recovers, there will be pressure to meet project timelines, but safety cannot take a backseat. We will support companies who seek to strengthen workplace safety, and will not hesitate to take action against companies with serious safety lapses and those found to be at fault for major workplace injuries and deaths. 

Table 1: Ongoing Measures for Workplace Safety & Health

Ongoing Measures


Ramped up inspections and stiffer penalties

With effect from 14 Jun 2022, (i) composition fines for infringements found were doubled from $1,000 to $2,000 on average, up to a maximum of $5,000; (ii) companies issued with Stop Work Order (SWO) must engage an external auditor to conduct a thorough review of their WSH management systems before the SWO is lifted; and (iii) companies that have had major injuries are required to engage external auditors to conduct a thorough review of their system of WSH controls, and implement measures to prevent recurrence.

Increasing awareness of whistleblowing channels

Project signboards at construction sites will show a QR code with a link to MOM’s feedback webpage, together with MOM’s safety hotline. WSH safety hotline and e-feedback shared with migrant workers.

Workers and members of the public are encouraged to report unsafe practices on MOM’s website. Identities will remain anonymous.

Requiring pre-start assessments

Implement weekly coordination meetings and daily toolbox briefings for companies in the Construction, Manufacturing, Marine, Process and Transport & Storage industries.

Tapping on technology to improve vehicular safety

For an overview of vehicular safety technology and government grant support for SMEs, please visit