SINGAPORE: There are 12 workplace deaths so far this year, compared to eight during the same period last year, said Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin at the bizSAFE Convention on Friday.
Mr Tan stressed the importance of creating a risk-free workplace, and added that his ministry will work with the Workplace Safety and Health Council to review the Risk Management Framework to boost its effectiveness.
The review is set to take one year to complete.
“You don’t want to really look at the family in the eye and tell them that their fathers or mothers will not be coming back, or in some cases, even worse — seriously crippled or disabled, and for some, permanently,” said Mr Tan.
Under the law, all companies must comply with the Risk Management Framework by rolling out steps to mitigate risk factors at work.
Companies which don’t comply face a S$10,000 fine.
Second-time and subsequent offenders face a maximum penalty of S$20,000 and six months’ jail.
At the convention, Mr Tan also revealed details of a study, which showed that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have gone through workplace safety and health training are more likely to retain their clients.
The study, conducted in January 2013 by the Workplace Safety and Health Institute, evaluates the effectiveness of the bizSAFE programme.
bizSAFE is a five-step programme launched in 2007 that helps companies make their workplace safe and risk-free.
The programme is carried out through a series of workshops and audits.
The study surveyed more than 1,600 SMEs and their clients.
Another key finding is that nine out of 10 bizSAFE-certified firms agree that the programme has helped them improve the safety and health of their workplaces.
To date, more than 17,000 companies have gone through the bizSAFE programme, compared to just 550 in 2007.
Mr Tan also urged companies to go through the bizSAFE programme.
He said when firms focus on ensuring safety and health in the workplace, employees feel valued and cared for.
He added this would bring about a transformed workplace culture that can lead to higher productivity and quality, reduced turnover costs, and greater employee satisfaction.