Singapore Takes Action for Construction Deaths

Since 2010, more than a hundred lives were taken in a construction site. With the increase of deaths every year, private institutes and even the government had taken great measures to prevent any more injuries and lessen the number of victims.

In a seminar attended by countless construction-related businesses and prominent individuals in the industry including Axis Capital Group, a Singaporean-based company which sells and rents capital heavy equipment across Asia, the government along with private institutions and public agencies are taking drastic steps to solve this issue.

DESIGN for Safety (DfS) regulations are ready to be gazetted under the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act by August 2015 and will take effect a year later, as the construction industry reaffirms its commitment to reduce the workplace fatality rate to less than 1.8 per 100,000 workers by 2018.

DfS, which refers to thinking about and incorporating safety features right from the design stage, is expected to play a large role. Proper execution of these steps is currently under strict observation and is being reviewed by those involved.

Since the WSH Council launched a sectoral plan to reduce the construction sector fatality rate in 2010, the figure has dropped from 8.1 to 5.5 per 100,000 workers in 2014, following a spike to 7.2 per 100,000 workers in 2013

Everyone agrees that there are a lot of things need to change and that they have to exert more effort to become better.

For instance, in building green infrastructures, architects should consider safe access for workers who will be maintaining the plants, such as rotating wall panels for easy pruning and watering, thus ensuring that workers will work in a safer environment. Warning signs are expected to increase in number and be seen in every part of the workplace. Certain cautionary methods are to be observed and followed.

Trainings and seminars are also expected to be conducted in many parts. The government will work with industry partners to train 1,000 DfS professionals by 2018, and also review existing DfS courseware to enable deep skilling of professionals and expand the capacity of training providers.

Axis also insists on an overall inspection of equipment used. Many members agree that the assurance of high-quality product and materials are needed to ensure safety in the workplace.

Other highlights of the action plans include emphasizing the importance of leadership in handling the workers. If there is a concrete leadership in the workplace, organized and systemized methods can be practiced.

Neighboring cities are also planning to adapt Singapore’s new method. Jakarta, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is to hold their own forum anytime soon.

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