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New funding Program To Help SMEs Manage Risks

In line with its goal to secure Workplace Safety and Health practices at work, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) of Singapore introduced WSH Assist Program, a new funding program for SMEs.

WSH Assist Program is a scheme which provides co-funding for SMES. WSH consultants will visit and review workplace of SMEs and will help them develop an action plan. The WSH Assist Program offers convenience as WSH consultants will be deployed at the work premises. The consultants will also offer on-site training which employees can readily attend.

The WSH Assist Program aims to reduce risks at source by requiring all stakeholders to eliminate or minimize the risks they create, instill greater ownership of safety and health outcomes by industry, and prevent accidents through higher penalties for poor safety management. It will officially start in September 2012.

In his speech during the Workplace Safety and Health Awards 2012 last July 17, 2012, at Fairmont Singapore, Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister of State for Manpower and National Development, he emphasized the essence of Workplace Safety and Health. He said that WSH is making sure that lives are kept safe, that jobs are protected and kept safe for all concerned. “We should keep safety at the top of our minds at all times not because we have to follow regulations but because we value and genuinely care for our fellow workers,” he said.

Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin also cited companies such as Keppel Land, CapitaLand, and City developments Limited, which have successfully ensured zero fatalities at 10 worksites employing more than 5,500 workers in 2011.

Meanwhile, to get top management to guide safety in an organization through commitment and tangible actions, the WSH Institute has developed a WSH Leadership Guide. It has a four-step Plan-Do-Check-Action practical guide. According to Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin, the guide offers simple insights from consultations that WSH Institute had done with leaders from various industries. It will be available on the WSH Institute’s website from September onwards.

Singapore banks on work safety as part the country’s goal to achieve a sustainable and continuous workplace performance. WSH 2018, the National Strategy for Workplace Safety and Health for Singapore, aims to bring down the national fatality rate to less than 1.8 per 100,000 workers by 2018, and thus achieve one of the best safety records in the world.