Updated: 07/04/2014 01:11

More education and training needed to boost workplace safety



File Photo

File Photo

Even as the government steps up measures against errant contractors, it is putting an equal emphasis on building up safe workplace practices in the industry. 

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education, Hawazi Daipi, says the aim is to couple education and encouragement with enforcement. 

The construction sector has come under close scrutiny after workplace accidents caused the deaths of 17 workers in the first six months of this year, up from 11 deaths in the same period last year. 

Dr Ho Nyok Yong, president of the Singapore Contractors Association, or SCAL, believes the root cause of workplace accidents is a lack of awareness. 

He says safety begins with good design. 

He is a strong advocate of Building Information Modelling, or BIM for short. 

The computer software is used to lay out and design construction plans. 

"It is a three-dimension, you can see very clearly. You can zoom in, you can see the detail, how to get it done." 

Crucially, the technology allows architects and contractors to figure out the sequence of steps needed to construct a building safely. 

SCAL runs BIM-enabled classrooms to train contractors at its academy. 

It also runs over 20 safety-related courses, attended by more than 30,000 people a year. 

Meanwhile, Rafiqul Islam, a safety coordinator at Wan Chung Construction, says newly arrived workers are often not used to Singapore's safety regulations. 

It's up to supervisors to constantly remind them to take care of their personal safety. 

"Let's say if the workers, working in their home country, they did not wear safety helments, they did not wear safety harness, once they come here, beginning they want to wear it -- beginning they will feel some uncomfortable. So once they use it, used to do it, a few days, a few weeks, then they'll feel it's comfortable." 

Mr Rafiqul was recognised with the Workplace Safety and Health Gold Award for Supervisors at the Construction Safety, Health and Security seminar on Thursday.

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