MOM launches stricter WSH enforcement strategy

by Miklos Bolza13 May 2016
In response to the 28 workplace fatalities so far this year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced stiffer enforcement penalties and enhanced support programs aimed at reducing the number of accidents to come.
 
“The Ministry of Manpower is deeply concerned about the high number of workplace fatalities despite stepped up inspection and enforcement,” MOM said.
 
To combat the alleged decline in workplace safety & health (WSH) performance, the Ministry has introduced the following stricter penalties for offenders.
 
1) Tighter conditions for lifting Stop-Work Orders
 
Coming into effect immediately, the minimum period for a Stop-Work Order (SWO) will be increased from two to three weeks, MOM said. The following new conditions will also be imposed before the SWO can be lifted:
  • Refresher training covering all areas of weakness
  • Mandatory re-audit of the firm’s WSH management system
  • Findings and lessons communicated to all workers
  • Enhanced site coordination meetings to improve coordination and supervision of onsite activities
2) Placement into the Business Under Surveillance Program
 
Firms that are issued with an SWO or that experience a workplace fatality will be immediately placed into the Business Under Surveillance (BUS) Program. To exit this program, companies must obey the following two criteria:
  • Training workers on the practice of Last Minute Risk Assessment (LMRA)
  • The submission of a Continual Improvement Plan which will be monitored after leaving the BUS program
3) Suspension of access to foreign workers
 
Additionally, MOM warned that firms issued with an SWO or that experience a workplace fatality may have their work pass privileges temporarily suspended. This means they will not be able to hire new foreign workers until the stated WSH issues are satisfactorily addressed.
 
Additional support for businesses
 
The Ministry also announced it will work closely with industry to improve WSH capabilities and increase safety standards overall.
 
“On this front, MOM will work with the WSH Council to provide free support to companies that need assistance in improving their WSH systems through the Safety Compliance Assistance Visits Plus (SCAV+),” the Ministry said.
 
Within this program, certified WSH specialists will coordinate with company management to identify areas of weakness and implement appropriate risk control measures.
 
MOM will also partner with the Singapore Institution of Safety officers (SISO) to confer learning points from fatal accidents to all workers. This will be accomplished through the network of WSH officers.
 
Finally, the Ministry warned that employers can be fined up to S$500,000 for the first WSH offence if the firm neglects to implement reasonable practical measures to ensure the safety and health of all employees.
 
Related stories:
 
Workplace fatalities on the rise
 
Firm fined $170,000 after fatal workplace accident
 
MOM issues 13 stop-work orders in Operation Cormorant

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