MOM launches workplace safety code of practice for company management

There are four main principles in the Code of Practice on Chief Executives and Board of Directors’ WSH Duties.

The first is to ensure that WSH is integrated into business decisions and there is clarity in the roles and responsibilities of CEOs and directors in leading workplace safety and health measures.

Secondly, company management should “continuously build a strong WSH culture, set the tone and demonstrate visible leadership in embodying and communicating highly effective WSH standards”, Dr Tan said.

They should also ensure that WSH management systems are effective and reviewed regularly, as well as empower workers to be actively engaged in WSH.

“The COP aims to distil the management principles and practices of safe companies into actionable steps for others to adopt and adapt to their circumstances,” Dr Tan said.

He noted that it was drafted after “extensive consultations” with the Singapore Institute of Directors, Singapore Institute of Safety Officers, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Tripartite Partners and various industry associations.

The code was first announced in April and the ministry has been consulting industry stakeholders on it since then.

It will apply to companies in all industries, even those that have no manual work and little risk of physical injury. It also covers the mental well-being of workers.

“We will be gazetting the COP as an Approved COP by October this year,” said Dr Tan.

“This means that in the event of a WSH Act offence, the courts can consider compliance to this approved COP in their judgment. Adhering to the approved COP’s principles can be a mitigating factor.”

Dr Tan added that small- and medium-sized enterprises starting out on implementing WSH can apply to the Ministry of Manpower’s StartSAFE programme, and the ministry will bear the full cost of WSH consultancy visits to identify risks and advise on safety measures.

Urging companies to strengthen their WSH culture, he said: “We recognise that it has been a turbulent period as we continue to battle work pressures and uncertainties.

“But we cannot and we can never let it be an excuse to put WSH on the back burner. It is paramount that companies understand the need to be safe, and how WSH is aligned to their commercial and economic interests.”

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