THE past three years have seen a distressing upward trend in the number of people dying in workplace accidents in Singapore.
When one considers that many such deaths and severe injuries of these sons, husbands, fathers, and breadwinners were preventable, and happened because of safety lapses at worksites, the situation may seem both perplexing and infuriating.
But from the perspective of business owners facing rapidly rising costs of capital, materials, delivery delays, and labour shortages, having safety processes and protocols may seem like yet another cost centre - which they might be tempted to cut out.
However, aside from the obvious considerations of human welfare, construction bosses should consider the implications of a workplace accident:
- The company's rating with the Building and Construction Authority may be adjusted, affecting its ability to tender for future projects.
- It could be disqualified altogether from bidding for government projects, if systemic workplace safety and health lapses are found.
- If there are claims for medical treatment, the company will likely face higher insurance premiums for its workers.
- There will be medical bills and even funeral costs, as well as further compassionate costs in the form of compensation to the bereaved family.
- When word gets out, the company's reputation and overall staff morale will take a hit.
Can anything be done?
Thankfully, yes - there are programmes in which employers can take part, or to which they can send workers to be educated on workplace safety.
Companies should also follow the Ministry of Manpower's code of practice for management principles and practices, to create a safe and comfortable space for workers to report safety concerns before any accidents happen.
For more, you can find this week's Brunch here.