The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will extend the ongoing Heightened Safety Period (HSP) from 1 March 2023 to 31 May 2023. It will also be implementing additional measures to improve workplace safety outcomes further.
In a press release issued on 10 February 2023, MOM said that the annualised workplace fatality numbers had decreased since the HSP implementation on 1 September 2022. Still, the major injury rate has crept up during that same period.
Between September and December, the annualised workplace fatality rate fell from 1.5 to 0.8 per 100,000 workers, while major injuries rose from 16.8 to 18.7 per 100,000 workers.
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad shared that the HSP has yielded positive results.
He said: “We have made good progress following the HSP, with improvements seen in the annualised workplace fatality rates and within the Construction sector. This shows that tangible results in WSH performance is possible with concerted efforts from all stakeholders.
“However, we are still not where we want to be – which is why we remain cautious and have decided to extend the HSP with additional measures.”
Meanwhile, the ministry added that the results of the HSP have been uneven, with the construction sector showing the most improvement in fatality and major injury numbers. In contrast, the transportation and storage sector saw no change in its fatality rates and an increase in major injuries.
From 1 March 2023, MOM will put four additional measures in place to complement the existing HSP initiatives. These measures will take into account the recommendations of the International Advisory Panel on Workplace Safety and Health (WSH).
For companies with severe WSH lapses after serious or fatal workplace accidents, their (1) CEO or board director will have to attend a half-day WSH training course.
The course curriculum will be an enhanced version of the existing bizSAFE training for senior management.
MOM will also be (2) increasing the maximum fine from $20,000 to $50,000 for any breach of WSH Act Subsidiary Legislation that could result in death or serious bodily injury.
Additionally, MOM wants to (3) empower workers by raising awareness of the various channels to report WSH concerns and provide protection for workers who speak up.
The ministry will be launching a National WSH Campaign come April 2023, which aims to encourage workers and members of the public to report unsafe practices at workplaces.
MOM advises migrant workers to reach out to MOM through the FWMOMCare app or the Migrant Workers’ Centre should they have any concerns.
Lastly, MOM will (4) introduce bite-sized WSH guidance materials to better support all companies, particularly SMEs, in instilling a more robust, safe operations culture.