Singapore – Employers Urged to Minimize Strenuous Work Outdoors as PSI Reaches Unhealthy Levels

June 18, 20133:25 pm343 views
  1. Under the Workplace Safety & Health Act (WSH Act), employers have a duty to protect their employees’ safety and health at work. When PSI levels exceed 100, employees will be exposed to higher levels of safety and health risk due to poor visibility and/or ill effects of haze.Advice for employers
  2. Employers must carry out a proper risk assessment and implement appropriate measures, including specifying when to stop work, so as to ensure that risks identified are minimised or mitigated. Employers can also refer to the Guidelines for the Protection of Employees against the Effects of Haze at Workplaces, or refer to Annex A. The Guidelines aim to help ensure both employers and employees are better prepared to minimize or mitigate the effects of haze. The PSI levels stated in these guidelines refer to the 24-hour average level issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA).Advice for employees
  3. Employees with existing heart or respiratory illnesses are more susceptible to the effects of haze. When PSI levels exceed 100, these susceptible employees must use respiratory protective devices (or respirators) if working outdoors. If they experience breathing difficulty from wearing respirators while working outdoors, employers should deploy them to work indoors. Outdoor work involving strenuous physical activity should be minimized.
  4. “Employers should refer to the guidelines and ensure they protect the safety and health of employees who work outdoors, against the unhealthy effects of the haze. Employers should also ensure they communicate clearly with the employees on how their organizations are putting in place measures to help workers cope with the impact of the haze,” said MOM’s Commissioner for Workplace Safety & Health Er. Ho Siong Hin.
  5. In situations where haze poses imminent danger to the safety and health of workers and measures have not been taken to mitigate those risks, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) may order the affected work to stop. If any person (individual or corporate bodies) fails to comply with a stop work order, under the WSH Act he shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.


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