Opening Address by Mr Vincent Phang at ASMI 26th WSH Innovation Convention

06 Jun 2024 Speeches


Ladies and gentlemen,

1.   Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to speak at ASMI’s 26th WSH Innovation Convention. Today’s event serves as an opportune moment for us to reflect on our collective journey towards Workplace Safety & Health or WSH excellence and explore how we can continue enhancing WSH for the industry.

WSH Performance

2.   We have all heard the remarkable news that Singapore attained a record low workplace fatality rate of 0.99 per 100,000 workers in 2023, meeting our WSH 2028 target four years early.  We are now amongst the safest countries in the world.  Such a milestone reflects our nationwide commitment to fostering a culture of safety, health, and well-being in the workplace. 

3.   For the marine industries, there were no fatalities in 2023, which is a historic first for the industry, from when national stats were first reported in 2006.  An impressive achievement given its high-risk nature. Vision Zero is attainable. Well done everyone!  

4.   Such a record was met thanks to the focused initiatives and collaborative efforts by the industry, and I urge you to maintain high WSH vigilance.

5.   Sadly, for 2024, there have been lives lost in the industry. One of them was a 59-year-old freelance commercial diver who failed to surface while cleaning a ship’s hull at the anchorage. All workers deserve to go home safe, and such incidents are a stark reminder that we must always remain vigilant. 

Collective WSH Ownership from All Stakeholders

6.   Whether you are an employer, supervisor, or worker, you play an important role in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. Let me elaborate: 

a) Employers must continue to set the tone for WSH and upkeep robust WSH management, so that our workers are properly trained and well-equipped before deployment. Empower your workers to report unsafe workplace situations and recognise their efforts in doing so.  This will help identify risks and prevent incidents. 

Employers are also responsible for setting and demanding effective WSH standards and performance from vendors and partners. This means taking their safety track record into account in selecting contractors, and possibly rewarding them for good safety performance.  Sharpening the business benefit of safety will translate to better WSH results by your contractors.     

b) As the bridge between employers and workers, supervisors must ensure the implementation of safe work procedures. Supervisors should clearly and regularly communicate all safety related matters to workers through platforms such as toolbox meetings and ensure workers are equipped with appropriate and well-maintained Personal Protective Equipment. Be sure to also conduct regular and thorough inspections to identify and manage potential hazards at the worksite, and keep communication open to encourage workers to report near-misses and raise suggestions to improve their safety and health.  Mitigate risks immediately when a worker reports an unsafe act or situation to prevent incidents.   

c) Workers must embrace safe work procedures to protect yourselves. Talk to your supervisors to ensure that risk assessment is carried out thoroughly to identify hazards, and that appropriate mitigation measures are implemented. Do not take short-cuts, look out for yourself as well as your co-workers, and speak up if you spot anything unsafe. 

7.   The three “e”s which I spoke of above – empowering workers, ensuring implementation of safe work procedures, and embracing safe work procedures – are aligned to our National “Reporting Saves Lives” WSH Campaign. 

ASMI’s 26th WSH Innovation Convention
8.   As a proactive advocate for workplace safety and health, ASMI has continuously pushed for ownership and innovation amongst our industry stakeholders. I thank ASMI for organising today’s Convention, and am excited to see how such innovations can prevent safety and health challenges at their workplaces. All the best to the six teams presenting later. 

9.   There will also be a segment later on the WSH Council’s Total WSH Programme.  For those of you who have yet to sign up for this free offering, please do so, so that you can partner up with a service provider in managing your workers’ safety and health, and be equipped with relevant resources to build your WSH knowledge and skills. 


10.   Beyond the exchange of learnings and insights, today's Convention is a unique opportunity for community building – one where we can showcase best practices and spearhead transformative solutions for others to emulate. I hope everyone here today will be inspired to build a community founded on the principles of safety and health, and I wish all a fruitful Convention ahead.