The Singapore government is committed to make Singapore one of the safest and healthiest workplaces in the world, targeting a workplace fatality rate of less than 1.8 by 2018. To boost efforts in this direction, the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council has introduced a CultureSAFE initiative.
Analysis by Singapore company registration specialist Rikvin reveals that this measure comes as Singapore witnesses the trend of an ageing demographic in the workforce. The employment rate for workers in the 55 to 64 age group has risen from 44% in 2001 to about 59% in 2010 in the city-state. Thus, it is essential that employers respond by ensuring that the workplace is friendly and safe for the older population.
Proactive, Preventive Approach
CultureSAFE seeks to help companies change from a reactive fix-it-and-repair mentality to a more proactive and preventive approach to safety and occupational health. It also helps companies reach the highest tier of being exemplary as well as demonstrate industry leadership in Singapore and abroad.
In his speech during the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Conference last month, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam explained that Singapore will provide $8 million to co-fund the costs for interested SMEs over the next 3 years. Each company can get up to $30,000 to cover the consultancy and implementation expenditures of this initiative.
In addition, the WSH Council will provide free online diagnostic tools to help SMEs assess the state of safety in their workplace. Last year, the CultureSafe fund was deployed on a pilot run among seven companies, and the initiative won strong affirmation from the international advisory panel of the WSH council.
Meanwhile, ever since Singapore implemented a performance-based WSH regime – emphasizing risk management capabilities – there has been a steady decline in workplace fatality rate from 4.9 deaths per 100,000 employed persons in 2004, to 2.3 last year. The injury rate similarly fell from 519 per 100,000 employed persons in 2004 to 387 last year.
Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Satish Bakhda, General Manager and Head of Rikvin Operations, said, “The safety and health requirements of older workers are different from younger ones, and companies need to fine-tune their working environment to meet their needs. For example, employers should introduce IT and ergonomically-superior workstations, among others.”
“However, with the current credit crunch and escalating business costs, a number of SMEs may be hesitant to take on additional expenses. That is why the CultureSAFE fund is an excellent idea. With this fund, the government will help SMEs implement these important workplace safety measures. Entrepreneurs who want to incorporate a Singapore company will also benefit as the co-funding will help offset a portion of their business costs,” he added.