Welcome Address by Mr John Ng Chairman WSH Council at the Launch of the National WSH Campaign 2021
29 Apr 2021 SpeechesWelcome Address by Mr John Ng
Chairman, Workplace Safety and Health Council at the Launch of the National WSH Campaign 2021 on
Thursday, 29 April 2021 at 10:30am at the
Trade Association Hub
Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Manpower,
Fellow WSH Council Members,
Union leaders, industry leaders and partners,
Ladies and gentlemen.
1. Good morning from the TA Hub! Together with our tripartite partners, the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore National Employers’ Federation and National Trades Union Congress, I welcome all of you to the 2021 National Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Campaign Launch!
2. One year ago, we organised the Campaign online for the first time in support of the government’s call for safe distancing measures to counter COVID-19. Now, with the safe and progressive resumption of business events, we are launching this year’s National WSH Campaign in a physical format with safe distancing and streamed live to our audience watching on a virtual platform. This hybrid event allows for some degree of face-to-face interaction, and we hope it will strengthen old partnerships and forge new ones.
Focus of National WSH Campaign 2021
3. Do you remember the tissue box, the zombie and the raisin from last year’s Campaign? These personas reminded us that health affects not only our work performance but also our ability to prevent injuries at work. We had rallied the industry to adopt the Total WSH programme to give attention to workers’ health in addition to the safety measures.
4. The spate of accidents in February this year was a loud and clear wake-up call for us. Companies must internalise WSH as an organisational value, from top management down to every worker. This is a basic step towards effective WSH ownership.
5. This year’s Campaign thus places the spotlight on WSH ownership; we need to make a more conscious effort and take concrete safety and health actions.
Care Time for Safety and Health Actions
6. Our Campaign message continues to be “Take Time to Take Care of Your Safety and Health”. But this year, we will be introducing “Care Time”, a scheduled break in a week, for workers to carry out specific safety and health actions. This seeks to put the organisational value of WSH into concrete action, and we hope companies can encourage their workers to be committed in taking a pause from work.
7. During “Care Time”, which can be a 30-minute duration or longer based on prior discussion with their employers, workers can pause his work to perform either a health action, such as resting, hydrating or doing simple stretching exercises; or a safety action, such as carrying out checks to identify hazards or near-misses, and reporting them to his supervisor. When conducted regularly, these actions become habitual and can improve the worker’s health and heighten his awareness of unsafe acts or conditions in his work environment in the long run.
WSH Council will run three supplementary campaigns
8. To drive home the need for our industry to take concrete actions, the WSH Council will be launching three supplementary campaigns throughout the year.
9. The first is the Slips, Trips and Falls (STF) Campaign in June. In 2020 STFs remained one of the leading causes of non-fatal injuries. We will engage the high STF-risk sectors to take greater WSH ownership by setting concrete goals to mitigate STF incidents, and to learn best practices via cross-sector sharing. Without revealing too much ahead, look forward to knowing what the ‘STF Resolution’ is, and how it promotes collective ownership.
10. Second is the new Mental Well-being Campaign in September, which is timed slightly ahead of the World Mental Health Day which falls on 10 October 2021. Work stressors can impact workers’ mental well-being, which in turn impact their safety and job performance. Plans are underway to collaborate with health institutions and agencies such as the National Council of Social Service and Health Promotion Board where senior representatives from the relevant organisations would be invited to share on best practices.
11. Apart from Slips, Trips and Falls, machinery incidents were the other leading cause of major and minor injuries last year. In the manufacturing sector, machinery incidents contributed to nearly one-third of all injuries, where 46 workers lost their hands or fingers in amputation accidents. Our third supplementary campaign will hence be the Safe Hands Campaign planned for March 2022, where we will continue to raise awareness and urge companies to take proactive steps to prevent accidents.
12. I would like to conclude by reminding all companies and workers once again that workplace safety and health cannot be taken for granted. Although Singapore has gradually resumed most of its business activities and safe management measures may have been relaxed, we must continue our utmost vigilance to ensure that no one gets hurt at work.
13. Thank you for joining me today.