Workplace safety — Whose responsibility?

Workplace safety

WORKPLACE SAFETY: Whose responsibility is it to ensure safety at the workplace? Is it the employer’s sole responsibility, or do we have a part too?

32nd workplace fatality in 2022 

On 10 August 2022, it was reported that a 43-year-old worker had died on 3 August 2022 after being crushed between a pillar and moving bus in Kranji.  

What happened? 

According to the Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSH), the deceased worker was guiding a bus to reverse into position while standing next to a pillar. After reversing, the driver moved the bus forward to do repositioning, but it unfortunately crushed the deceased worker against the pillar. 

The deceased worker was a 43-year-old Chinese national who is also similarly a driver. He was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, but later succumbed to his injuries. His employer, Singapore Towing Equipments had been instructed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to immediately cease all towing of vehicles from non-public roads and building premises. 

One death is too many 

This unfortunate accident came after Member of Parliament (MP) Melvin Yong’s adjournment motion in parliament pertaining to the alarming increase of workplace fatalities and injuries as Singapore emerges from Covid-19. 

There are many factors contributing to accidents – the worker might be too tired and not been getting sufficient rest, or it could be pure negligence or complacency. Workers could also fear reporting their employers on unsafe workplace practices.  

MP Melvin Yong, who is also the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)’s assistant secretary-general, acknowledged MOM’s efforts in stepping up inspections at workplaces, but nudged the MOM for more to be done.  

Responsibility is yours and mine 

Companies, especially those in the construction industry — have been clearing the backlog of work caused by Covid-19.  

As busy as we can get, we should never leave safety at the back of our mind. What are workers working for? For most workers, they are working for their families — they might have younger and/or older dependents at home. At the end of the day, we want to go back home in one piece to our loved ones. 

How is safety a shared responsibility?  

At the workplace, a simple act of looking out for fellow colleagues and co-workers would help. Report damaged equipment and alert fellow colleagues. Stay alert when operating machinery and always double-check before operating the equipment.  

One death is too many for us to accept. Whether local or foreign worker, it does not matter. We all have a home, or someone we go back to, whether in Singapore or abroad. We can do better. Let’s all look out for each other! 

Doing More for the Wellbeing & Safety of Delivery Riders

About Author

A young Singaporean concerned about issues workers face. As humans, we spend a third of our lives sleeping and recharging, and another third for our personal life, and the last third at work (based on a 24-hr distribution). That's why we should pay attention to issues surrounding work.