Opening Address by Mr Lim Keng Yang at ChemPact 2024

28 Mar 2024 Speeches

AT CHEMPACT 2024 ON 28 MARCH 2024 AT 9.15AM

Key Messages

• Ownership: Top management taking ownership in creating a culture of safety and health is key to high WSH performance.

 Mentorship: Companies willing to share good practices play a critical role in influencing and shaping good industry practices. 

• Collective leadership and stewardship: Organisations within the chemical ecosystem and value chain each have a part to play in elevating WSH standards, and in doing so, the entire industry benefits. 
Board Members of the Singapore Chemical Industry Council, 
Executive Council Member of the Association of Process Industry
Distinguished speakers, industry partners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good morning. I am honoured to be amongst so many leaders from the Chemical Industries here today.  
i. You are in prime position to take the lead, shape and mould the workplace safety and health (WSH) culture. 
ii. In doing so, you are paving the way for safer workplaces for all to follow.
iii. Thank you for being advocates and strong supporters of WSH and making the difference in your company. 

WSH Performance for Chemical Industries 
2. Last year, the national workplace fatality rate was 0.99 per 100,000 workers. 
i. Through the collective efforts of our tripartite partners and the industry, we have not only achieved our WSH 2028 target to lower the fatality rate, we did so five years early. 
ii. Focusing on the Chemical Industries, you have done well too.  There were zero fatalities in 2023 - not an easy feat, but one which you had managed to achieve. 

3. Our good WSH performance last year calls for a celebration, but it is still not ‘mission accomplished’. Let’s be reminded that Safety is a journey and not a destination. 

i. We must stay the course and remain laser focused on sustaining this good performance. 
ii. We must also be prepared to take it to the next level, and manage new WSH risks that emerge.

Four “ships”

4. The Chemical Industries’ solid WSH performance was borne from four “ships”, the first being “ownership” of their safety and health. 
i. Safety is at its best when everyone is self-motivated in improving and taking collective ownership of their WSH performance.  
ii. This is not limited to workers, but also leaders like yourself. 

5. Today, we will witness the signing of WSH commitments by 27 companies. 
i. This signing ceremony is an example of leaders taking ownership in setting a high bar for WSH. They have committed themselves towards demanding high WSH standards from their contractors. 
ii. This is a commendable effort. I hope this will serve as inspiration for others to take ownership of WSH.

6. Secondly, it is the “leadership” of companies across the Chemical Industries supply chain, who prioritise   WSH in their procurement policies and practices. This is demonstrated by the WSH Commitments made by the 27 companies. 
i. By setting and demanding high WSH performance from their contractors, this has compelled their contractors to improve their WSH capabilities and performance.
ii. And this results in greater self-motivation among the contractors to outperform their peers in WSH outcomes. This is because better WSH performance can help them secure more business opportunities. Good WSH performance is Good business. 

These companies, led by proactive leaders, can be seen as queen bees, championing WSH capabilities and motivating their contractors to uphold high WSH standards. I hope to see more such queen bees companies among us.

7. Thirdly, companies within the Chemical Industries are strong advocates of “mentorship”.  This means  being proactive in sharing good industry practices with their peers. 
i. One such company is PCS Pte Ltd, one of our bizSAFE mentors. With an already robust safety and health culture within their company, they have taken the extra step to share this knowledge with others. 
ii. I understand that PCS will also be partnering WMRAS to conduct a learning journey for the chemical waste management companies later this year. 
We can learn from one another and improve safe work.  

8. Finally, good “stewardship” of leaders is key towards creating a strong and pervasive culture of WSH excellence. 
i. As stewards, industry associations safeguard the interests of their membership body, including WSH. The various associations have been proactively developing WSH initiatives and strengthening the industry’s WSH performance.  
ii. For example, SCIC, together with ASPRI and the WSH Council, regularly collaborates to organise the Jurong Island Vision Zero forums to facilitate open sharing of good WSH practices.  The topics discussed during these forums are diverse, ranging from confined space safety, to working at heights and pressure vessel safety. 
iii. Another association, ASPRI, actively engages its members in progressing their bizSAFE levels. I am happy to note that more than 80% of ASPRI members are already onboard the programme. Out of which, about 75% are already onboard the bizSAFE Star! This is a commendable effort and I urge more to follow.

9. The Chemical Industries can proudly lay claim to having a good WSH performance last year, and the challenge now is to sustain this. It is critical that we continue emphasising WSH as a top priority. 
i. As leaders, we must take Ownership in creating a culture where safety and health is of the highest priority. 
ii. We must demonstrate visible Leadership by setting high and clear expectations on WSH standards  across all our value chain 
iii. Provide Mentorship to share, learn from one another to improve WSH practices.
iv. Exercise collective Stewardship to act and collaborate across the chemical ecosystem and value chain to elevate and sustain WSH standards. 

In closing, let’s continue to be vigilant and work closely together as community to upkeep the high WSH performance of the Chemical Industry. I wish all of you a fruitful session ahead. 

Thank you.