SINGAPORE: Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower, Hawazi Daipi, said the overall management of Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) in the construction industry, especially for smaller contractors, can be improved.
Mr Hawazi said there needs to be greater focus on training, procurement and Design for Safety (DfS).
Mr Hawazi was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Construction, Safety, Health and Security Campaign organised by the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL).
In 2011, fatalities in the construction sector fell by 31 per cent and injuries fell by 22 per cent compared to 2010.
In the first five months of this year, work injuries rose 8 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Some of these injuries were serious where workers either lost a limb or were hospitalised for prolonged periods of time.
Mr Hawazi said the Ministry of Manpower and the WSH Council have proposed enhancements to the Construction Safety Orientation Course (COSC) as part of the training of construction workers.
This will take effect from next year.
Currently, all new workers have to undergo and pass a one—day CSOC before their work permits can be issued.
The current one—day CSOC will be extended into a two—day course.
The extended course will include practical components with more emphasis on work at heights and personal safety, such as the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The enhanced CSOC will ensure workers receive more in—depth training. The practical components will help workers familiarise themselves with the work in a construction worksite.
The enhanced CSOC will be offered at the home countries of foreign construction workers in the overseas training centres (OTC) run by the Building and Construction Authority.
Mr Hawazi said with training conducted in the workers’ home countries, they can be trained before they arrive in Singapore.
This will allow employers to better select workers with the basic understanding and ability to fit well into construction work.
In the area of procurement, contractors highlighted that the WSH Council’s bizSAFE Level 3 certification should be the minimum requirement for tendering of construction projects. Clarity in the specification of WSH cost in the tender price should also be required by clients and developers.
The WSH Council’s Construction and Landscape Committee will be developing guidelines for WSH in Construction Procurement.
This will include a set of WSH requirements that clients could include in their procurement documents.
The Council will consult with the Real Estate Developer Association (REDAS), SCAL and the Specialist Trade Alliance Singapore (STAS) in drafting the guidance materials.
Mr Hawazi also urged developers, contractors and designers to adopt Design for Safety principles. By addressing construction safety in the design and planning phase, improvements will be made in reducing injuries and costs associated with unnecessary project delays due to safety lapses.
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