Opening Address by Mr Vincent Phang at the WSH Forum for Logistics and Transport Industry
06 Jul 2023 SpeechesOpening Address by Mr Vincent Phang,
Deputy Chairman of the WSH Council,
at the WSH Forum for the L&T Industry on 6 July 2023
WSH Council Members,
Mr Dave Ng, Chairman of the WSH Council (Logistics and Transport) Committee and the Singapore Logistics Association,
Committee members and industry representatives,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Good morning and thank you for joining the Workplace Safety and Health Forum for the Logistics and Transport (L&T) Industry. Today’s forum aims to rally the industry to improve WSH further, including nurturing a workplace culture where workers feel safe to speak up on WSH issues.
Industry WSH Performance
2. I reflect on my own WSH journey in SingPost, where I’m from. We have more than 1,000 postmen on the road, and I’m always worried about the hazards they face. We encourage employees to take care of themselves, report near misses and hazards, and raise any WSH issue, such as risky situations or unsafe processes, to their leaders. I know that some may feel shy or hesitant to report a WSH concern, but we must make sure they feel safe, and empower them to report.
3. We assure our employees that it is worthwhile, and they will not be blamed. This is because the benefits of reporting are that everyone learns how to prevent accidents and it can save lives.
4. This sort of culture is needed for the Transportation and Storage industry, which has one of the highest numbers and rates of fatal and major injuries compared to other industries. The situation actually worsened during the Heightened Safety Period, or HSP in short. The annualised fatal and major injury rate for the industry increased from 24.0 per 100,000 workers between January to August 2022 (pre-HSP), to 29.5 between September 2022 to March 2023 (during HSP). This is of grave concern, so we must improve our WSH performance.
5. Additionally, the Ministry of Manpower has scheduled enforcement operations focusing on vehicular safety from August 2023, to ensure that those who are behind in WSH step up. I also call upon the more progressive companies or members from the industry to support their peers – you will get to see some of them later – by reminding them on the importance of WSH and even sharing with them your good practices, so that they can level up.
Speak Up and Take Charge of Your Safety and Health
6. I was glad to learn that some companies have already incorporated good WSH reporting practices. For example, Jurong Port provides a platform for workers and port users to report near misses conveniently through their mobile devices, and it also ensures anonymity. In one case, workers reported a metal piece protruding from a yard. A safety cone was immediately placed to prevent tripping and the hazard was rectified the next day. Good practices like these do help save lives and must continue.
Recognising Exemplary WSH for the Industry
7. After three long years of not being able to physically celebrate L&T companies and individuals for their commitment to WSH, I am glad that we are able to honour several of our industry colleagues here today. We will be presenting the WSH Innovation Awards and WSH Awards for Supervisors for the L&T community. I thank the Singapore Logistics Association for their continual support for these industry awards. As we recognise these best practices, I hope the industry will be inspired and motivated to learn from one another.
8. For the WSH Innovation Awards, there are 10 winners, who have incorporated innovations to improve WSH. Let me cite one of our award recipients today:
a) PSA Singapore, recipient of the Gold Award, had adopted Prime Mover Telematics to observe and monitor their prime mover drivers’ driving behaviour.
b) Using telematics, PSA would identify those that exhibit unsafe driving behaviour during shift and follow-up with safety coaching. Those with high scores accumulated over time are also required to attend an intervention programme to prevent accidents from occurring.
c) This is one good way to utilise WSH innovations to enhance your WSH management, and I encourage more companies to harness innovations where they can.
9. For the WSH Awards for Supervisors, it recognises exemplary individuals that act as a bridge between senior management and workers, supporting good WSH in their companies. Let me share how one such supervisor kept his workers safe:
a) Mohamad Fauzee Bin Jamal, a Depot Garaging Supervisor from SMRT Buses, constantly encourages his workers to prioritise safety by conducting daily Safety Moments. He emphasises the day’s safety message and impresses on them that safety is everyone’s responsibility.
b) Further to encouraging his workers to look out for and report unsafe conditions, Fauzee assures his workers that their safety concerns are being heard and addressed.
c) Good job, Fauzee, and I urge all supervisors to play their part in ensuring safety on the ground.
Doing more for Vehicular Safety
10. One hotspot for the Transportation and Storage industry has been vehicular safety. It has a high risk of serious injury. Since 2022 up to March this year, there were 9 fatal injuries and 10 major injuries in the Transportation and Storage industry due to vehicular-related incidents. MOM found that common causes included inadequate traffic management plans or non-compliance to such plans. In light of this, I urge everyone to pay close attention to vehicular safety.
11. The WSH Council will continue to support companies in managing vehicular safety:
o We understand that SMEs may face difficulties in implementing things like innovations to manage vehicular safety. SMEs can start simple; it doesn’t have to be difficult. We are curating an SME WSH Pack on Vehicular Safety, which contains bite-sized versions of WSH resources, such as brochures, checklists and posters. These resources will be made available in English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil, and will be released by end of the month. This Pack is the first in the series of four to be released over the next few months, so do look out for them.
o Next, we have updated the WSH Guidelines for Safe Loading and Unloading on Vehicles. The guidelines have been revised by an industry working group that was convened in 2021, under the guidance of the WSH Council (L&T) Committee. I thank the working group and committee for your valuable insights, and Mr Eric Law, Chairman of the working group will share the key revisions later. Thank you, Eric!
o Both these resources are available for download on the WSH Council’s website, so please share them with your colleagues and workers.
12. In conclusion, all of us, employers and workers alike, needs to put in your best efforts for WSH. Grow your WSH ownership, adopt WSH innovations, and implement best practices, such as introducing an internal reporting system if your company does not already have one. All workers deserve to go home safe and healthy.
Thank you, and here’s wishing everybody safe operations, and a fruitful forum ahead.