114 contraventions of Workplace Safety and Health Act
The Manpower Ministry has uncovered a total of 114 contraventions of the Workplace Safety and Health Act in the last two weeks of January.
These took place across 89 construction sites.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Hawazi Daipi provided these statistics in Parliament today, in response to questions on workplace accidents, following a spate of nine fatalities last month.
Of these nine, eight came from the construction industry.
Mr Hawazi adds that seven stop work orders, 45 composition fines and 69 notices of non-compliance have been issued in the same two-week time frame.
There are two possible factors.
"First, companies are rushing to complete construction projects on time, as the demand for construction activities continue to rise. Second, a tighter labour market could have contributed to companies overstretching their workers."
In light of these, Mr Hawazi says his ministry will adopt a multi-prong strategy in regulation and enforcement.
First, the authorities will continue to enforce stronger penalties to provide adequate deterrence.
Second, MOM will tighten the conditions for the lifting of a Stop Work Order.
New conditions for lifting the order may include refresher training on areas of weaknesses in workplace safety, alongside with the re-audit of the Workplace Safety and Health or WSH management system.
Third, MOM will expand the scope of the Business Under Surveillance programme to more companies that require assistance in addressing weaknesses in their WSH management system.
And fourth, MOM will review and strengthen the Demerit Points System.
More updates to come after the review in completed by mid-2014.
Member of Parliament and chairman of Migrant Workers' Centre Yeo Guat Kwang asked if the ministry would look into helping workers identify WSH risks.
In response, Mr Hawazi says that they would encourage workers to blow the whistle on errant employers.
"In fact, workers have the right not to work if they find that the environment they work in is not safe. They can report it to management and they can work with management to ensure the unsafe environment is removed before they can start work."
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