Article: Preventing workplace accidents: Lessons from Singapore

Culture

Preventing workplace accidents: Lessons from Singapore

Protect your employees from accidents. Learn from the valuable lessons on workplace safety from the recent incidents recorded in Singapore.
Preventing workplace accidents: Lessons from Singapore

 

Workplace safety is a critical concern for organizations worldwide, but it doesn’t always get the attention when it comes to budget and program management.

Accidents not only pose a threat to the well-being of employees but can also lead to legal and financial repercussions for companies. 

In Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently imposed penalties on 435 companies for failing to adhere to workplace safety measures. 

During a two-month enforcement operation conducted from June 26 to Aug 25, MOM focused on addressing hazards, particularly slips, trips, and falls (STF) in workplaces. 

This operation involved over 700 inspections spanning various sectors, including construction, manufacturing, transportation and storage, wholesale and retail trade, and services.

MOM reported a total of 1,491 enforcement actions taken during this period, which included three stop-work orders and 89 composition fines amounting to $186,050. 

It also noted a concerning trend, stating that since 2014, slips, trips, and falls have been the leading cause of major workplace injuries, and their incidence continues to rise. 

As a result, MOM intends to persist in taking enforcement actions against companies found to have significant workplace safety and health lapses.

Creating workplace safety measures may seem like a daunting task, as it usually is, but there’s no need to start big as you can always begin with simple, doable solutions.

Read: Job insecurity must be included as a workplace hazard: Report

Here are some ways you can prevent workplace accidents:

Prioritize open reporting and communication

One of the key strategies for preventing workplace accidents is fostering a culture of open reporting and communication. 

In the recent incidents in Singapore, the accidents were immediately followed by investigations, which a more reactive solution. 

While it’s essential to investigate accidents, it's equally important to create an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting near misses and safety lapses without fear of retribution.

Read: Get conversations right for a happy employee experience

Continuous safety training

Recently reported workplace accidents in Singapore only highlights the importance of upskilling workers, which includes providing training on safety protocols, equipment operation, and hazard awareness. 

Workers who are well-trained are better equipped to identify potential risks and take appropriate precautions, which can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents.

For this program, you may want to tap the help of government agencies in charge of safety in the office setting.

Equipment safety

One of the most recent accidents in Singapore involved a 41-year-old construction worker tragically lost his life when a pallet of gas cylinders toppled during a lifting operation. 

The incident emphasizes the importance of safety equipment that are accessible in key areas of the workplace. 

Regular maintenance, inspection, and proper usage of equipment are critical. Furthermore, workers should be well-trained in using equipment safely.

Collaborative efforts

Safety isn't the sole responsibility of any one party; Collaboration among the government, industry, and unions is vital for ensuring workplace safety. 

Regulatory bodies need to work with organizations to set and enforce safety standards, while companies and unions should actively participate in creating and maintaining a safe working environment.

Read: Why in-person collaboration has never been more important: the rise of the curated meeting

Environmental responsibility and safety

As Singapore’s acting Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat earlier suggested, companies should not only focus on safety but also contribute to broader goals, such as environmental responsibility. 

A safe workplace often aligns with sustainability efforts, as it minimizes accidents that can result in environmental damage and contributes to a cleaner, safer world.

Incident review and continuous improvement

Whenever an accident occurs, it's essential to conduct a thorough review to understand why it happened and identify areas for improvement. 

This proactive approach to learning from accidents can prevent their recurrence. By implementing changes based on these reviews, organizations can continuously enhance their safety protocols.

Preventing workplace accidents requires a multi-faceted approach.

By implementing work safety best practices, organizations can take meaningful steps towards preventing workplace accidents and ensuring the well-being of their employees. 

In the end, a commitment to safety benefits everyone – employees, organizations, and society as a whole.

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Topics: Culture

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