Workplace accidents: Maximum fine upped to S$50,000, CEOs of errant firms must attend training as heightened safety period extended
SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will be extending the heightened safety period and will impose higher fines on errant companies found to have serious safety breaches.
- MOM will extend the heightened safety period by three months from March 1 to May 31
- It was first introduced in September 2022 for six months
- There have been four workplace fatalities since the start of 2023
SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will extend the heightened safety period and impose higher fines on companies found to have serious safety breaches.
In a press release on Friday (Feb 10), MOM said the extension will be for three months starting from March 1.
The heightened safery period was first introduced in September last year for six months to address the rise in workplace fatalities. At the time, there were 36 workplace deaths in 2022, one fewer than for the whole of 2021.
Given that there have been four workplace fatalities since the start of 2023, MOM said that heightened alert and vigilance need to be maintained.
"Based on past trends, periods post-Chinese New Year have had higher workplace injury numbers as companies rush to compensate for workdays lost," said MOM.
The maximum fines for breaches of the Workplace Safety and Health Act Subsidiary Legislation that could result in death or serious bodily injury will be raised from S$20,000 to S$50,000 during this extended period.
From March 1, MOM will also require the chief executive officer or a board director to attend a mandatory in-person half-day training course if their companies are found to have serious workplace safety and health lapses following serious or fatal workplace accidents.
This is in addition to existing measures where companies may be barred from hiring new foreign employees for up to three months.
Other measures that will be rolled out include raising awareness of the various channels where workers may report workplace safety and health concerns, providing protection for workers who speak up, as well as introducing "bite-sized" versions of workplace safety and health guidance materials.
According to MOM, the annualised workplace fatality rate per 100,000 workers improved during the heightened safery period, falling from 1.5 for the period of January to August 2022, to 0.8 for September to December 2022.
The full year fatality rate for 2022 was 1.3 per 100,000 workers.
However, the annualised major injury rate per 100,000 workers increased from 16.8 to 18.7 in that same period.
MOM added that the impact of the heightened safery period was uneven across sectors.
The construction sector showed the most improvement, with the monthly average number of fatalities falling from 1.6 before September last year to 0.3 during the heightened safety period.
On the other hand, the monthly average number of fatalities for the transportation and storage sector did not improve and the major injuries worsened during the same period.
"This is of concern, as major injuries reflect persistent safety lapses at workplaces and most of these injuries have debilitating effects," said MOM.
Mr Zaqy Mohamad, the Senior Minister of State for Manpower, in the release said that good progress has been made following the heightened safety period, with improvements seen in the annualised workplace fatality rates and within the construction sector.
This shows that tangible results in workplace safety and health performance are possible with concerted efforts from all stakeholders, said Mr Zaqy.
"However, we are still not where we want to be – which is why we remain cautious and have decided to extend the heightened safety period with additional measures," he added.
"Only with vigilance, greater ownership and continual training can we get back on track to achieving our 2028 workplace safety and health goals of keeping our fatality rate at below 1 per 100,000 workers, and our major injury rate at below 12 per 100,000 workers.”