1. Good morning and welcome to the SCAL Construction Safety, Health and Security Seminar 2017. Thank you for joining us at this annual event. Workplace safety and health, or WSH, is of paramount importance in the construction industry. I am happy to see the strong turnout today and hope that it will spur further WSH improvements in your company.
Safety performance in the construction sector
2. In 2016, the construction sector saw a drop in fatality rate, decreasing to 4.9 per 100,000 employed persons. This has been the lowest since 2007. We are also seeing a vast improvement for the first half of 2017. I sincerely hope that we will be to maintain, if not better this record, not just the fatality rate but also all injuries in the construction sector.
Initiatives taken by SCAL to improve WSH
3. If some of us will recall, early last year the sector was gravely concerned over the spate of fatal injuries. Responding to the situation, SCAL intensified engagement and outreach with our members. We launched the Annual Safety and Health Promotion Month in June last year, calling for CEOs of construction firms to be personally involved and participate in safety activities at their worksites. For this year’s campaign, we are again reiterating the importance of leadership in driving WSH in a company.
SCAL’s three-prong approach towards WSH
4. Leadership is the first of a three-prong approach that SCAL has adopted in our WSH work plan. We urge top management to inculcate safety mindset of every employee in the company, and establish effective safety communication at all levels within the organisation.
5. The second area is training. We encourage construction firms to enhance WSH skills and knowledge of their employees, and build up WSH competencies in the construction workforce.
6. In January this year, we launched the SCAL Induction Training app on mobile devices to enable site supervisors to train and highlight safe practices at worksites using visual images that workers can easily associate with. I would like to encourage all of
you to download the mobile application on your Android and Apple devices.
7. Our third approach is to encourage the adoption of advanced construction methods such as modular and mechanised systems that embrace safe work process and reduce onsite processes.
8. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge members of SCAL’s WSH Sub-Committee, chaired by Mr Lee Kay Chai, for their commitment and hard work in stepping up the programmes and activities. The sub-committee has also formed workgroups to drive specific WSH activities such as conducting safety site visits to share best practices, safety and mozzie timeouts at worksites, and developing training tools such as the mobile app I just mentioned.
9. We have shown that through concerted efforts of industry, stakeholders and the government, we have been able to lead in the reduction of construction incidences and fatalities. The mobile app was a good example where the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore, or REDAS and the WSH Council had provided inputs and guidance in its development.
10. In a separate initiative, SCAL made a recommendation for Budget 2017 asking the government to have separate provisions on WSH in government procurement and tendering for all government construction projects. We understand that this could take time to develop, but there are already some existing models and we hope the government will consider and implement this recommendation in due course.
SCAL WSH Awards
11. To promote greater participation in WSH, SCAL has been organising the SCAL WSH Awards over the past 13 years. I would like to take this opportunity to express my warmest congratulations to all winners for the SCAL WSH Innovation Awards and the SCAL WSH Supervisor Awards 2017. Their efforts and dedication has contributed to improving WSH in their organisation. Please keep up the good work!
12. In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to our Guest-of-Honour, Minister of State for Manpower, Mr Sam Tan for gracing today’s event. Special thanks also go to e2i for co-organising the seminar and the Job Fair being held at Event Hall 4.
13. The national goal to achieve Vision Zero is to reduce workplace fatal injury rate for the sector to less than 1.8 per 100,000 workers by 2018. SCAL will continue to work closely with industry stakeholders and the government to drive greater improvements in WSH.
14. On this note, I wish all of you a fruitful and productive seminar. Thank you.