Call for concerted effort by all players to ensure worksite safety

When it comes to worksite safety, every person in the construction industry is responsible.

The chairman of the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council said this to members of construction-related associations in his first public remarks on the worksite accident along the Pan-Island Expressway on July 14, which claimed one life and left 10 others injured.

“While investigation is under way and we do not wish to speculate on the root cause, the accident clearly shows that safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Mr Heng Chiang Gnee at the Construction Workplace Safety and Health Leadership Roundtable last Friday.

He added that every person in the industry – from designers and contractors to project managers and safety officers – has a role to play.

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“All of these stakeholders must work together to ensure workers’ safety and health, and promote and inculcate safe practices,” he said.

Eight construction-related associations – including groups of real estate developers, contractors, engineers and architects – were present at Friday’s roundtable.

They discussed issues such as Design for Safety regulations, which reduce safety and health risks through good design, as well as the importance of all worksites having formal project safety coordination committees. More than 20 training seminars on Design for Safety have been conducted for nearly 3,500 people in the industry.

The Ministry of Manpower has said it will mandate the formation of project safety coordination committees at all construction sites, and they are supposed to meet daily to discuss safety issues.

The current industry practice is for contractors to appoint a coordinator to attend to such matters.

A work group led by the Society of Project Managers will be working with the Manpower Ministry and WSH Council to provide feedback on the amendment to WSH (Construction) regulations.

It will also help steer the industry’s efforts to adopt such safety committees, and plans to publish a guide to help firms conduct effective meetings to plan, coordinate and review all hazardous works at sites.

Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan said he was pleased to see industry leaders collaborating and discussing their plans.

He added: “Through strong leadership and close partnership, we can look forward to safer workplaces and ensure our workers can go home safely to their families.”

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