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Opening Address at Singapore Health Award 2022

Senior Minister of State Mr Zaqy Mohamad

Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary


Members of the Tripartite Oversight Committee


Our award recipients


Ladies and gentlemen


1. Good morning. First, congratulations to all our winners today! I am delighted to join you in celebrating the wins by many individuals and organisations in keeping Singaporeans healthy.


2. Many organisations recognise the benefits of fostering healthy workplaces and taking care of their employees’ well-being. They are likely to have lower absenteeism, better employee engagement and can better retain and attract talent. Conversely, when employees are unwell, business operations are affected and the downstream impact will be on productivity. In higher risk industries where safety is already a key concern, poor health makes workers even more vulnerable to workplace accidents and fatalities. Improving the health of workers reduces the risks of injury, makes the work environment safer and increases productivity. In other words, the sustainability of a business, to a large extent, is contingent on the well-being of the people supporting it.


3. Our award winners seated here today know this, and they have kept up with good practices that support the health and well-being of their employees, despite the pandemic.

a. Singtel, for example, has a holistic well-being programme that promotes both physical and mental well-being within their organisation. Singtel also provides mental well-being resources and support to their workforce through an app which offers a range of programmes to cater to their employees’ mental well-being needs.

b. beINSports Asia (BE-IN-SPORTS Asia), a sports media and entertainment company, is another with exemplary efforts. It anchors its workplace health programmes on measurable goals and has structured initiatives to achieve them including providing health activities and challenges to motivate employees to adopt healthier habits such as exercising and eating more healthily.

4. Workforce health encompasses a few important aspects. One is preventing or delaying the onset of chronic diseases. They are prevalent within the working population and if not managed well, could lead to dizziness or loss of consciousness that could result in accidents. Employers can be effective multipliers in health outreach. Each progressive employer that puts priority on employee health can result in a positive ripple effect among all its employees. It is win-win; preventing and managing chronic diseases can improve workplace safety for the organisation, and reap health benefits for the workers outside of work and even long after they retire.

5. A second aspect is to prevent occupational health problems. Since 2017, work-related musculoskeletal disorders have overtaken noise-induced deafness as the topmost reported occupational disease and continues to be on the rise.[1] Based on surveys done during the first season of the Workplace Safety and Health Council’s Total WSH Programme, about 1 in 12 workers reported that the musculoskeletal pain they feel was bad enough to affect them at work.

6. Companies need to address such issues at source, and ensure that the equipment or tools they provide, or the position of the work areas allows for good work posture. Rotating tasks or encouraging stretch breaks are also helpful in relieving muscle strain caused by work. BlackBerry, for example, has an in-house ergonomics programme aimed at improving employees’ posture and reducing physical discomfort. Apart from an online workshop, there is an annual “ergonomics day” where professionals will observe the office environment and make recommendations for adjustments. Companies that wish to follow in the footsteps of BlackBerry to run ergonomics workshops for employees can actually tap on the Total WSH Programme to do so, at no cost.

7. The third aspect is mental well-being. Over the past year, we have been encouraging companies to use the iWorkHealth tool, a free online self-administered psychosocial health assessment tool developed by MOM’s Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute, WSH Council, Institute of Mental Health, Health Promotion Board and Changi General Hospital. The tool helps organisations and employees identify common workplace stressors so that they can implement appropriate interventions to foster mental well-being. From the responses of more than 14,000 respondents, one in three employees suffered from burnout. They cited excessive job demands, poor job recognition, and poor management support as the top three sources of work stress.

8. More can be done to address these sources of work stress.A large part hinges on how organisations strengthen work-life harmony. Besides having flexible work arrangements to help employees better manage family and work commitments, employers can also incorporate well-being programmes to instil the culture of self-care and help employees cope better amidst stressful times. We are already seeing some of these efforts today among our award recipients and I hope more organisations will make adjustments to the way they work.

9. Companies looking for inspiration and guidance can check out the Playbook on Workplace Mental Well-being, co-developed by MOM, WSH Council and Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP), that provides step-by-step guidance from progressive employers and HR practitioners on how to implement some of these mental well-being initiatives at the workplace. Companies should also continue to use the iWorkHealth tool regularly to monitor their employees’ stress levels and review their mental well-being initiatives.

10. Organisational leaders will need to revisit the hardware and software of their workplace strategies to keep pace with the needs of their workforce where hybrid work is becoming more common. These can include redesigning how work is performed such as exploring the use of enablers like digital tools and technology, reviewing the relevance of HR policies to support flexible work arrangements, structuring well-being programmes into sustainable practices, and putting in place systems with a personal touch such as forming care or counselling teams for those who need support. Most importantly, the culture must be a supportive one, where caring for one’s well-being and reaching out for support when in need, becomes an accepted norm at work.

11. For employees, they will also need to take personal ownership of their own physical and mental well-being, especially with changing work arrangements. Many have shared anecdotally how they have regressed in their physical activity and mental health when work demands become overwhelming. It is important to prioritise their well-being and take time to take care, such as carving out time to exercise, keeping their social connections active, and reaching out to their employers when they need support for their physical health or mental well-being.

12. For those who have taken steps to create support structures at your workplaces, your efforts are commendable. I encourage more to join us and embark on this purpose for the better of your workforce, workplace and work outcomes. Thank you.


  1. Ministry of Manpower’s Workplace Safety and Health Report 2021