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Steps taken to make workplace risks clearly understood by all

  • TODAY (07 November 2011) : Steps taken to make workplace risks clearly understood by all
  • TODAY (02 November 2011) : Do hawkers understand risk assessment?

Steps taken to make workplace risks clearly understood by all
- TODAY, 07 November 2011

We thank Mr Gerald Chong Chin Hui for his feedback in his letter "Do hawkers understand risk assessment?" (TODAY, Voices, 2 November 2011). We have also contacted Mr Chong directly to offer him assistance on his queries.

2.   All employers need to conduct appropriate risk assessment of their workplace so that workplace safety and health (WSH) risks are identified and minimised from the onset of business operations. This will ensure that workers are not exposed to the risk of bodily injury as a result of work incidents.

3.   We agree with Mr Chong that there is a need to make the implementation easily understood for our stakeholders. Materials are in place to help simplify the understanding of the risk management process. For instance, MOM and the Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSHC) created a pictorial guide in four languages to educate hawker stall owners on the key risks at hawker centres. Stakeholders who need assistance in filing up the Risk Assessment form can also get help at WSH Clinics, which are provided free of charge. The most recent WSH Clinic was conducted in the heartlands in August 2011 at Clementi and the next upcoming one is on 24 November 2011. We are also looking at further improving our materials, including a Risk Assessment form in other languages or in pictorial format to help stakeholders understand how to carry out the risk assessment themselves.

4.   We would like to assure all stakeholders that risk assessment is a simple process to identify possible risks at the workplace, take preventive measures and communicate with the workers involved so they know what they need to do to protect themselves. For stall holders, this could include preventing falls due to slippery floors, stacking of goods and equipment properly to prevent being hit by such objects, or wearing protective gear like heat resistant gloves or aprons to prevent being burnt or scalded by hot food.

5.   We strongly encourage all stakeholders that require assistance or more information on WSH to register for these WSH Clinics by checking WSHC's website.

Do hawkers understand risk assessment?
- TODAY, 02 November 2011

I fully understand the need for workplace safety but I am concerned about how the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is implementing the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

MOM requires all workplace stakeholders, including individual hawkers, to perform a risk assessment of their food stalls. If not, first offenders may be fined up to S$10,000.

However, this risk assessment form - the same form for factories and companies - is available only in English.

Why did MOM not think of the different competency or education levels of the stakeholders involved?

Does it think that all stall owners are able to duly complete a risk assessment form - comprising risk identification, suggestions for risk mitigation, control measures etc - similar to the ones used by system engineers and project managers?

There is no point in such paperwork without the stakeholder understanding what he or she is actually doing.

MOM should be more thoughtful of those who are lowly educated when it implements policy.