Opening Address by Mr Abu Bakar Mohd Nor at the Bedok Safety Group WSH Seminar

10 Oct 2023 Speeches

Opening Address by Mr Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, 
Chairman of the Workplace Safety and Health Council 
at the Bedok Safety Group’s WSH Seminar
on 10 October 2023

Mr Philip Wang, Chairman of the Bedok Safety Group,
Ladies and gentlemen,

1. Good morning and thank you for inviting me to today’s Seminar.
2. The Bedok Safety Group (BSG) has been a long-time supporter of the WSH Council’s initiatives, and I am glad that we are working closely to ensure that our workplaces are safe and our workforce, healthy. It is commendable how far BSG has progressed – from your humble beginnings as a voluntary group of safety professionals from various manufacturing companies, to becoming the first Vision Zero cluster for the manufacturing sector. It is through seminars like this that we are able to recognise BSG’s hard work towards promoting WSH as a key priority within the manufacturing sector.
SAFE Measures 
3. We need more WSH advocates like BSG. Especially during this period, when the measures from the Multi-Agency Workplace Safety Taskforce (MAST) are being implemented.
4. Amongst the measures is the expansion of the Demerit Point System (DPS) to the manufacturing sector. This has already been applied to the construction sector for many years, and could have been one of the factors for the steady improvement in construction WSH performance over the years.  

5. Under the DPS, companies that have serious or consistent WSH breaches would be temporarily debarred from employing foreign employees. For companies that have good WSH practices, they do not have to worry.  For companies that have yet to improve, I hope the DPS will give them more reasons to invest in WSH.  
6. Strengthening WSH ownership and accountability among companies can only start from the top. As such, another measure announced was for CEOs and Board of Directors from higher risk industries, like manufacturing, to attend a mandatory Top Executive WSH Programme by March 2024. This programme aims to focus corporate leaders’ attention towards meeting their WSH duties responsibly, and ensure that they take the necessary steps to develop their employee’s WSH capabilities. I encourage all top management here today to take initiative and start attending the programme before it becomes mandatory next year.  It is already available online by NTUC Learning Hub and SCAL Academy.  

Industry Ownership
7. These are just some of the measures introduced to help Singapore achieve our WSH 2028 vision. More support is also being given, especially to SMEs, to strengthen WSH ownership and raise workers’ awareness. The WSH Council has developed a series of SME WSH Packs focused on common WSH risks, such as slips, trips and falls, and vehicular safety. To ensure that they are easier to understand, these Packs consist of bite-sized resources, such as checklists, signages and pictograms, which have been translated into four languages. These Packs are available for download on the WSH Council’s website, and I hope that more SMEs will come forward to use them.  

8. Today’s Seminar provides a good opportunity for us to cross-share our WSH experiences and best practices adopted in our workplaces.  May you have a fruitful session ahead.  Thank you.