SINGAPORE - Identifying new and emerging workplace risks is important to improve the safety and health of the country's workforce, Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health Amy Khor said at the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute Forum on Wednesday.
Dr Khor said that there are good existing measures that prevent immediate and obvious hazards, such as a wet and slippery floor. "But we need to think about longer-term hazards, to better anticipate and prepare ourselves for future risks and for our future workforce and children to lead safer and healthier working lives," she stressed.
To this end, the WSH Institute has launched a new observatory to study and analyse new and emerging WSH risks. Called the Observatory for WSH Landscape (OWL), it will use collected information to help decision-makers improve policies and direct WSH resources.
Through OWL, the WSH Institute is currently working to reduce the number of cases of cancer and non-malignant respiratory diseases in Singapore associated to work activities in the construction sector.
It is also studying the use of predictive modelling to further reduce workplace injuries in construction worksites.
Dr Khor said that Singapore's workplace fatality rate dropped to a record low of 1.8 fatalities per 100,000 employees in 2014.
"While this may seem like good progress, we must not forget the 60 workers who were killed last year and the grief and loss that their families will suffer for the rest of their lives," she added, emphasising that "every life lost or injury sustained is one too many".