Due to the recent spike in workplace fatalities, a safety time-out is taking place in Singapore construction sites for two weeks. If you’ve been catching up with the news, you’d be well aware of the situation right now.
As Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned in a Facebook post, “We have been working hard for years to prevent workplace accidents, especially deaths. We have made good progress. But with our economy reopening and activities ramping up, safety standards and practices seemed to have slipped. Accident rates have gone up, and we have lost ground.
Back to "Normality"
As we Return to Office, or “normality”, workplace safety should never be taken lightly as precautions should always be adhered to. Here are some thoughts:
- To say I can fully understand workplace danger and fatalities would be a lie since I work in the comfort of a fully air-conditioned and safe office, and sometimes from home (note: construction workers have no option to WFH).
- However, I was fortunate to have the the opportunity to visit one of Woh Hup‘s construction sites as part of our customer visits. It was a very insightful experience as I was given front row seats to witness how our construction workers toil tirelessly under the hot sun. They do all the hard work for us, building the Singapore we live, work and play in. The visit got me appreciating our construction workers a lot more.
- Seeing recent news about workplace deaths made me really sad. Our migrant construction workers leave behind kith and kin, coming to Singapore to work for their families with hopes to give them a better life. Sadly, not all are able to return. So even as a 19-year-old young buck, I should cherish life a lot more and do my best to make our workers’ lives safer.
Does construction necessarily mean danger?
PM Lee’s Facebook post highlighted that “We have made good progress.”. Doesn’t this show that workplace fatalities can be reduced?
The first step is to make safety part of COMPANY CULTURE.
Every company must treat safety as a no-compromise must-have. It starts top-down, from the company’s leadership. That our workers’ lives are important, and one death is one death too many.
From culture comes POLICIES & PROCEDURES. Company management must do proper risk-assessments and institute Workplace Safety & Health (“WSH”) frameworks and detailed rules which must be adhered by EVERYONE. Some of which include, not leaving any floor openings unprotected and report to the Safety Personnel immediately to have it covered up, and always ensure that you are equipped with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when handling chemicals. Simple safety rules are often overlooked and taken for granted, but they are there for a reason (to keep everyone safe).
Next, TRAINING. Every construction staff and worker must be trained in the basics of safety and what are the DOs and DON’Ts at the worksite.
Creating Effective Construction Safety Training
Construction Safety Training should not be thick binders of rules & policies, or 100-slide powerpoint presentations.
No-one can absorb all that information at one-go. Not a PhD, less likely a lower-educated construction worker whose native language is not even English.
Instead, we should make training materials rich-media focussed and interactive. Like this example:
Special thanks to Woh Hup for hosting our visit to their site, as well as treating Worker Safety seriously. Here are some of the data we received from them after using ArcLab:
- On average, Woh Hup managed to save 47% training time and over 95% of their workers found ArcLab modules simple and easy to use.
- Their training departments are able to save up to 200 hours every year
With ArcLab, safety managers can digitise all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), as well as WSH policies & training materials.
Create engaging and effective training modules for your staff with images and videos embedded to help facilitate their learning. Interactive quizzes, short-answer or open-ended questions to help ensure your employees understood the module.
For the employers, create one short, bite-sized learning modules to be sent to all your workers. Our SmartTranslate feature allows workers to select their preferred language so safety managers don’t have to create same modules in different languages. Our Learner Management System also helps you keep track of every learner’s progress with a simple dashboard. ArcLab helps move safety training direct to workers’ mobile phones, so safety managers can save time spent on physical training and channel time to higher-productivity tasks.
One fatality is one fatality too many.
Especially in times like now, during this safety time-out, where organisations are revising safety procedures with their staff as well as conducting risk assessments at the same time, this is the best time to use an interactive learning platform like ArcLab to get everyone in the company trained in important WSH training.
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