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Opening Remarks at Official Opening of the Construction Safety School

Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Mr Zaqy Mohamad, JTC Space @ Gul

Mr John Ng, Chairman, Workplace Safety and Health Council;

Mr Ng Lang, CEO, Jurong Town Corporation (JTC Corporation);

Mr Kenneth Loo, President, The Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL);

Industry partners, ladies and gentlemen.

 

  1. Good morning.

     

  2. SCAL’s partnership with JTC Corporation to develop a construction safety school that uses technology to facilitate experiential learning, is commendable. It establishes SCAL as a front runner in training innovation. This is important as technology will be key in improving our workplace safety and health (WSH) capabilities.
  3. Let me share why.

    Overcoming training barriers with technology

  4. The construction industry in Singapore comprises workers from different culture, nationalities and languages. This year, the construction demand is expected to remain strong, and more new and inexperienced workers will be arriving at our shores. Coupled with companies providing varying standards of WSH training, teaching workers, especially new ones, to understand and prepare for WSH hazards can be challenging.

  5. One of our key recommendations to promote technology-enabled WSH in our WSH 2028 strategy is to strengthen WSH training through technology. In experiential learning, for example, technology can provide a simulated construction site where workers can learn by doing and reflect on the consequences of their actions. By taking safety training out of the traditional classroom environment, workers will have a better grasp of safety concerns. More importantly, in the context of our construction industry, technology can bridge the language and cultural gaps of our workers while strengthening WSH capabilities. 

  6. One example of tech-enabled learning offered by the School is the use of Virtual and Augmented Reality. I remember my own brief Virtual Reality (VR) experience at a site management walkabout late last year where workers were trained using VR to try out what working at height felt like. I was on a roof, walking over an edge without a guardrail, and experienced myself falling from height and the sense of vertigo. It was a frightening virtual experience and I would not want any of us or our workers to experience this for real! Being able to feel the sensation makes workers more acutely aware of why practices like maintaining housekeeping, having safety barriers and adhering to safety protocols are important. With such realistic work-based experiential training, I am certain workers would think twice before cutting corners and breaching WSH practices.

  7. The School also offers work-based training with experiential learning stations for workers to have a virtual experience of accident scenarios at the workplace, such as being crushed by machinery or falling into an opening. Such blended learning approach of work-based and tech-enabled training will allow workers to better retain what they have learnt through an interactive and immersive experience.

    Rallying the industry to take greater ownership of WSH

  8. The partnership between SCAL and JTC Corporation exemplifies another key WSH 2028 strategy of strengthening WSH ownership by inculcating a culture of care for workers’ safety and health not just within companies, but also beyond, such as with associations, government agencies, and key developers in the industry.

  9. I urge main contractors to take the lead and encourage their sub-contractors to build on their WSH capabilities and instil a WSH culture of care, trust and prevention. Supervisors and workers, regardless of whether they are contractors or sub-contractors, will be able to grasp how we all play a part in upholding optimal safety standards at the workplace when attending the courses. This is the surest way to develop WSH ownership among all stakeholders. Together we can change our mind-sets and take on the role of champions of safety and health at the workplace, rather than merely complying to safety requirements.

  10. I am glad to know that SCAL is also opening its Construction Hub by 2021 to teach workers the latest techniques in manufacturing, assembly, virtual design and construction using technology. The Hub will be shared by associations and chambers in the built-environment sector, and I urge all of you to be part of the Hub. I look forward to more partnerships being formed between industries, associations and companies with the collective goal of improving WSH outcomes.

  11. Once again, my heartiest congratulations to SCAL and JTC Corporation on the official opening of the Construction Safety School! Thank you.