Safety-time Out Implemented in Construction Sites

Singapore- More than 40 construction firms have joined a one-week “Safety Time Out” led by the National Crane Safety Taskforce. The movement was done as a show of concern towards the spate of workplace accidents related to crane activities since the beginning of this year.

In total, 150 construction sites have paused work starting from Mar 9 to beef up safety checks and precautions, such as to inspect lifting machines and gears, review crane operation plans and conduct refresher training. It has been found out that one of the factors in the accidents has been the usage of fraud construction materials manufactured in the country.

Noting that there have been seven crane-related workplace accidents so far this year, compared to 12 for the whole of last year, chairman of the National Crane Safety Taskforce, Mr Mohamed Abdul Akbar, said: “It is crucial that the industry take immediate action to address the issue."

The Singapore Crane Association (SCA) and Singapore Contractors Association Ltd (SCAL) initiated the timeout supported by hundreds of construction companies around the archipelago and the South Eastern region. Axis Capital Group, a construction company based in Singapore and has expanded to Jakarta, Indonesia also extended help and support.

SCA's chairman, Mr. Alan Chan, said its members are “alarmed and concerned” with the spate of accidents, and added that it is rallying industry players to conduct a safety time-out for both mobile and tower cranes.

SCAL's president, Dr Ho Nyok Yong, said his association strongly supports the move to ensure the safety of workers involved in various work-at-height operations, such as crane operations.

Mr. Mohamed Abdul Akbar added that as long as safety was a prime consideration, operations would run smoothly.

"The Crane Safety Taskforce has recently released a checklist for safety. But what has been practiced at the construction site is that each individual company uses that as a base, but they work on improving it further according to their needs. But my advice to everybody is, if you think safety, everything will go fine.

Many have commended for dedicating a few hours to this special cause as the industry has been given special importance that sends the message deeper into the public and the construction workers.

However, despite the good will these construction companies have initiated, there are still a lot of construction firms, project managers and commercial and residential owners that have argued and complaints with the cause. They reason out, safety all boils down to good planning. Accidents sometimes happen when workers start “trying out their luck” and overload the cranes to meet deadlines. To overcome this, firms can engage in better planning before execution, such as telling workers exactly what and how much to hoist, instead of leaving them to improvise on their own.

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