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Speech at Opening of Galmon Academy Building

Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and for Education, Galmon Academy

Mr Desmond Ong
Chief Executive Officer, Galmon,

Distinguished Guests,

Industry Partners,

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. A very good morning.
  2. Mr Desmond Ong and I share a common concern for workers – safety and health at the workplace. I am happy to be here on this occasion because it marks the significance that many organisations place on the safety and health of our workplaces. I am pleased to join you today for the official opening of the Galmon Academy building. It is heartening that Galmon, a home-grown company, is taking the initiative to enhance the safe use of Mobile Elevated Work Platforms or MEWPs in the industry.

  3. Falls from Height continues to be a major cause of workplace fatalities. In 2014, it accounted for 17% of 60 workplace fatalities and 13% of 672 workplace major accidents in Singapore. Falls from height has contributed less to fatalities and accidents in Singapore but it is still the largest contributor or fatalities and accidents, and this is something the whole industry must address. 
  4. Earlier this year, MOM initiated an enforcement operation targeting specifically at work at height and lifting operations at construction sites. Of the 214 worksites inspected, 191 were found to have violated WSH rules. We issued Stop-Work Orders, Notices of Non Compliance and meted out fines. This shows that more can be done to increase the WSH standards at workplaces.

  5. However, workplace enforcement alone cannot be the solution. Employers and employees can and must do their parts to bring about safer and healthier workplaces. It begins with the belief that the prevention of workplace accidents and ill health is key, and we must do all we can to prevent them. Hence, this year’s National WSH Campaign message is “I can prevent all injuries and be healthy at work”. This is what Vision Zero is about. Vision Zero is important because it is not a numerical target. It is to develop the mindset that all injuries and ill health at work are preventable, and a conviction that zero harm is possible. It is important for all of us in the industry to work together to ensure that we not only comply with the regulations, but that we are more aware of the importance of safety and what makes our workplaces safer.

  6. If we have this mindset that injuries at work are preventable, then the use of MEWPs, instead of ladders and scaffolds to undertake work at height is an obvious choice. First, MEWPs enhances productivity and are quicker to deploy. Second, and more importantly, MEWPs are safer to use as they remove the risks of climbing especially during the erection and dismantling of scaffolds. In other words, MEWPs offer workers an easier, safer and smarter way to access to workplaces at height. 
  7. Which is why MEWPs are becoming more popular, not just at construction sites, but also in many industries. For example, workers now use these machines to change light bulbs, especially those that are installed in high ceilings, do painting works and clean external walls of buildings. We encourage greater usage of MEWPs as it enhances productivity.

  8. The safe use of MEWPs requires that the machine is properly maintained and the operator adequately trained. The opening of the Galmon Academy building shows that Galmon’s commitment goes beyond just the provision of rental equipment. Galmon understands that relevant training is critical to ensuring that employees use the equipment safely and correctly. As the market leader in the use of MEWPs in Singapore, we trust that Galmon will share its expertise with the industry. I also encourage all industry partners to join in this industry-led effort. 
  9. On this note, I congratulate Galmon Academy on the opening of its new building. Thank you.