The Business Times

Making workplaces safer with behavioural science and digital tech

Getting workers out of an ‘automatic’ thinking mode will help avoid accidents

Victor SeahNarendranath PN
Published Wed, Oct 5, 2022 · 06:00 PM

A RECENT spate of fatal accidents has thrust workplace safety and health into the spotlight. As of Sep 1, there were 37 workplace deaths this year, more than the 30 deaths in 2020 and equal to 2021’s full-year total. For the first half of 2022, the construction sector accounted for the most workplace deaths and major injuries, while overall workplace deaths doubled to 28 from the previous six months, according to official statistics released on Sep 16.

This increase in workplace deaths, especially in construction, has been attributed to tighter timelines, manpower shortages, and complacency in the aftermath of Covid-19. The pressure to meet shorter deadlines on long-delayed projects may have resulted in safety being overlooked, longer working hours, and increased worker fatigue.

In response, the government has introduced measures to stem workplace accidents. These include the Ministry of Manpower’s new code of practice on the workplace safety and health (WSH) duties of chief executives and boards, designed to hold employers accountable. The code makes it mandatory for companies to complete a safety time-out, and includes a revised demerit point system.


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