Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on employers, supervisors and workers to take safety at the workplace seriously.
“Lives are at stake. We have a responsibility to keep all our workers safe, whether they are local or foreign,” he wrote in his Facebook post on May 9, 2022.
“Since the beginning of this year, 20 people have died at work, in accidents of one kind or another — 10 in April alone. This is far too many, and not acceptable,” he said.
According to The Straits Times, 20 deaths is the highest number of fatalities for the same period since 2016.
PM Lee reiterated Singapore’s commitment to ensure a safe workplace for all, so that workers can return home safely to their families.
Declining standards and practices
Singapore has worked hard for years to prevent workplace accidents, especially deaths, said PM Lee.
“But with our economy reopening and activities ramping up, safety standards and practices seem to have slipped. Accident rates have gone up, and we have lost ground,” he added.
In view of this, he announced that the Manpower Ministry, Workplace Safety and Health Council, NTUC and industry partners have called for a safety time-out starting today and will end two week weeks later. Companies can then focus attention on workplace safety, reinforce safety processes and deal promptly with safety issues raised by workers, PM Lee said.
In a Facebook post on the same day, the Singapore National Employers Federation reminded company leaders on their responsibility to ensure worker work in a safe environment.
“Leadership is important to develop a safety culture in the workplace to sustain good WSH records. Company leaders have the responsibility to ensure that workers can come to work and return home safely daily. Company leaders should empower all workers to take ownership of their safety so that they would speak up about safety issues and would not take unnecessary risks to meet deadline.”
Cover photo credit: PM Lee Facebook page