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Important for construction workers to be aware of employment rights

  • The Straits Times (5 August 2016): Important for construction workers to be aware of employment rights
  • The Straits Times (28 July 2016): Irrelevant questions in test after training course

Important for construction workers to be aware of employment rights
- The Straits Times, 5 August 2016

  1. We refer to the letter (“Irrelevant questions in test after training course”, 28 July) by Ms Angelia Ho.
  2. The two-day Construction Safety Orientation course is mandatory for all construction workers in Singapore, both local and foreign.
  3. The course is designed to cover not only key safety issues related to construction works but also a worker’s rights and responsibilities under the Employment Act. It is essential that our construction workers are fully aware of their employment rights. Employment conditions such as working hours, leave or rest entitlement, and medical benefits, have a direct bearing on ensuring that workers are able to do their work in a healthy and safe environment. As such, key essentials relating to the Employment Act, Workmen Injury Compensation Act, and Work Permit Conditions are included in the course. The assessment, accordingly, include these topics to ensure that construction workers in Singapore have a holistic understanding and appreciation of their work safety and rights.

Irrelevant questions in test after training course
- The Straits Times, 28 July 2016

  1. One of my elderly colleagues - a 62-year-old delivery driver with only lower primary education - was recently sent by the company to attend the Construction Safety Orientation Course regulated by the Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSHC).
  2. Participants can choose their preferred language in which to take the course. At the end, they have to take a practical test as well as a multiple-choice test, comprising 40 questions. Participants have to score at least 60 per cent in order to pass the written test.
  3. My colleague passed the practical test but failed the written test. He said that the questions were too wordy and difficult to understand.
  4. To help him prepare to retake the test, I downloaded four sets of the questions from the WSHC website.
  5. To my amazement, each set of questions contained at least six that were related to the Employment and/or Immigration Acts. This is about 15 per cent of the questions.
  6. The questions asked were on things such as what to check in an entry permit, the penalty for crimes, rate of payment for overtime and when salaries must be paid.
  7. Such questions are irrelevant to the course. The test should just focus on safety aspects at the workplace.
  8. The lengthy words in the questions can also be simplified using graphics or icons, which are easier to understand.
  9. The number of questions should be reduced to 30 instead of 40, after the elimination of the irrelevant questions.
  10. Currently, older professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) are encouraged to go for various training programmes, but with no job in sight.