Skip to main content

Workers Are Taught to Work Safely

Ministry of Manpower (01 November 2007): Workers Are Taught to Work Safely


The Straits Times (25 October 2007): Unskilled Workers Need Better Protection


Workers Are Taught to Work Safely
- The Straits Times, 01 November 2007

Please refer to the letter by Dr Tan Chek Wee “Unskilled workers need better protection” (ST, October 25).

2.   The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) would like to assure Dr Tan that there are measures in place to educate workers on working safely. All workers, including unskilled foreign workers, from higher risk industries such as construction, shipbuilding and repair, are required to attend and pass a Safety Orientation Course before starting work. In addition, the Ministry requires employers to provide regular safety training to these workers. Workers will need to pass safety tests every two to three years.

3.   MOM works closely with the industry-led Workplace Safety and Health Advisory Committee (WSHAC) to educate workers on safety practices, including the need to wear ear protection in noisy workplaces. This is done through regular road-shows, outdoor advertisements, an annual safety campaign and educational materials. Workers are also informed to report unsafe work practices to the Ministry for investigations at the hotline number 6317-1111. Companies can be fined and/or prosecuted if found to have infringed the Workplace Safety and Health regulations.

4.   MOM conducts regular enforcement checks on industries to ensure that employers have measures in place to protect their workers from risks at work. Together with the WSHAC, we will continue to train and educate workers on their rights and responsibilities in workplace safety. Members of public can also report unsafe work practices to the Ministry at the above number.


Unskilled Workers Need Better Protection
- The Straits Times, 25 October 2007

It is not uncommon to see workers, mostly foreigners, drilling away without any ear protection, clearing garbage with their bare hands, trimming branches of trees without safety belts, etc.

I agree that sometimes it is due to laziness that these workers do not adhere to safety regulations but are they sufficiently informed of their importance? Are they aware, for example, that they may become stone deaf many years down the road, after they have returned home, with no avenue to seek workmen's compensation? Are they aware that if they fall off trees and become paralysed from a spinal injury, they will be sent home?

Do some employers treat such lowly-paid workers as 'expendables' because they are cheap labour?

Until such employers have a greater sense of moral obligation, I hope the Government will improve the protection of these unskilled workers.