Higher compensation for workplace injuries

The maximum amount of compensation for workplace-related injuries will be raised by about 20 per cent from next year.

From Jan 1, employers will be liable for $69,000 to $204,000 in the event of a workplace death, under the Work Injury Compensation Act.

If a worker suffers total permanent incapacity, compensation will range between $88,000 and $262,000.

The cap on medical expenses will also be increased from $30,000 to $36,000, Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say told 1,200 representatives from industries, such as construction, marine and manufacturing, yesterday evening at the annual Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Awards.

"The last time we made such adjustments was in 2012, so it's about time we keep up with wage increase and inflation in medical costs," he said.

In another change, expenses that facilitate an injured worker's return to work will be claimable under the Act from next year.

This will cover charges for treatments such as physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, and worksite assessment.

"Research has shown that the longer the injured workers are absent from work, the lower the chances of them returning," said Mr Lim.

An early return to work "not only provides better financial security to the worker, but it also contributes positively to his physical and mental well-being", he added.

Mr Lim noted that the workplace fatality rate has fallen from 3.1 per 100,000 employed persons in 2006 - when the first WSH Awards was held - to 1.8 per 100,000 employed persons last year.

"We can do better... The way to achieve this is through the Vision Zero movement," he said, referring to the idea of aiming for zero workplace accidents.

"A key to Vision Zero is innovation. If we can innovate to remove risks right from the start, then there will be fewer lives injured or lost down the road," he added.

One of the winners of the Innovation Awards yesterday was Japanese industrial firm Takenaka Corporation, for a system it designed that made working at heights safer and more productive.

Its mobile hanging platform system is built on tracks so that it can be moved easily from one location to another.

It also has two barricaded areas, which act as a double layer of protection for workers.

The system has helped the company maintain a zero accident rate at its project site, said Takenaka Corporation's acting general manager, Mr Kimitoshi Nakashima.

In total, 191 companies and individuals were recognised for their efforts in improving workplace safety and health at the ceremony at Resorts World Sentosa.


This article was first published on July 30, 2015.
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