Asia Adopting Workplace Safety Standards

Malaysia and Singapore have both joined the ranks of developed nations by ratifying the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Occupational Safety and Health.

Both countries agreed to be under ILO’s scrutiny on matters related to safety and health measures at work places and adhere to its high standards.

Malaysia already had a well-established safety policy to ensure safety measures were implemented and adhered to address a construction sector with the highest number of accidents recorded at a work place. Government figures show that 57,639 accidents at work places were reported to the Social Security Organisation (Socso) in 2010, and out of the total, 4,665 cases or 8.1 per cent occurred in the construction sector.

In 2011, Socso has recorded 33,551 cases of accidents in work places, out of which 4,937 accidents were in the construction industry. 80 deaths were reported last year in the construction sector due to accidents at work places.

Singapore’s Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin has recently approved the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Convention (C187) set forth by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

At the Geneva International Labor Conference, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) deposited the instrument of ratification with the ILO, officially making Singapore the 23rd member state and the fourth country in Asia to ratify the Convention.

Convention No. 187 requires ratifying member states to take progressive action to establish a safe and healthy work environment through national policies and programs. The goal is to prevent workplace injuries, diseases, and deaths through social dialogue and tripartism. By aligning to international labor standards, Singapore will make significant progress in ensuring better workplace safety and health outcomes.

Singapore has achieved substantial growth in terms of workplace safety and health policies in recent years. Before C187 was ratified, a comprehensive national WSH Strategy 2018 was launched to implement a long-term approach to improve work environments, work processes, worker behavior and WSH practices in general.

According to recent data collated by ILO, approximately 317 million workplace accidents and 2.3 million workplace deaths occur worldwide annually.

In Singapore, through the enactment of the Minister of Manpower’s WSH Act, occupational fatalities were effectively reduced from 4.9 fatalities per 100,000 laborers in 2004 to 2.3 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2011. With the recent C187 ratification, Singapore aims to further reduce the national occupational fatality rate to less than 1.8 per 100,000 workers by 2018.

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Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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