Countries can learn a lot from each other when it comes to improving safety for workers, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday in a message to commemorate World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
Singapore, he said, is sharing its experiences as part of Asean's "Plan of Action" to strengthen their national workplace safety and health (WSH) frameworks.
And Singapore itself is adopting best practices from OECD countries "which began their WSH journeys much earlier", he added. For instance, Singapore set up a risk observatory last year, modelled after one in Europe.
The research centre will identify emerging safety and health concerns in South-east Asia and develop preventive measures.
The World Day is observed on Sunday. PM Lee contributed a message this year at the invitation of the International Labour Organisation. In it, he stressed that ensuring workers' health and safety is a collective effort. "Governments must enact the right regulations, and enforce standards of workplace safety and health that meet their people's expectations."
On their part, employers have to provide safe work environments and foster a safety culture, and employees have to look out for themselves and one another. Singapore treats the issue "very seriously", he said, committing to international agreements and raising national standards via its WSH strategy and WSH Council.
Over the past decade, Singapore has halved its rate of fatal workplace injuries. "The World Day is an appropriate occasion to reflect on the importance of workplace safety and health," he said. "Let us all reaffirm our commitment to this cause, and join hands to raise WSH standards."
In Singapore, PM Lee will launch the National WSH Campaign on May 20.