Minister of state says every death at work is one too many – after 66 people died at work in 2016

Author: PM editorial | Date: 25 Jan 2017

Workplace safety can benefit from technology that avoids unnecessary risks

Last year in Singapore, 66 workers died in workplace accidents. It’s a fatality rate of 1.9 per 100,000 persons, hovering just above the official target of 1.8 by 2018.
 
The minister of state, Sam Tan, gave a speech at the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Tech Symposium 2017, in which he explained how technology can help organisations in this crucial area.
 
“Every death is one too many,” said Mr Tan. “A death at work means the loss of a loved one at home. For some families, it could mean a loss of their sole breadwinner. We owe it to our workers to keep them safe and healthy so that they go to work and return home safely to their families every single day.”
 
Mr Tan highlighted the use of the Ministry of Manpower’s SNAP@MOM app as one way for employees to report unsafe work conditions, whether they work on a building site or in an office. Anyone with a smartphone can download the app and submit photos of unsafe working conditions directly to the MOM.
 
Since the app was designed in 2012, reports made through the app have accounted for around 40 per cent of all reports made to the ministry on workplace safety issues.
 
The minister went on to talk about the benefits of using technology to develop new work processes which avoid unnecessary risks, using the recently developed ‘Pictobot’ as an example.
 
“Instead of having two painters using a scissor lift working at 10 metres above ground to paint the high ceilings of industrial buildings, the PictoBot can now do it with just one human supervisor on the ground,” said Mr Tan. “Using an optical camera and laser scanner, it also does the job 25 per cent faster than two humans and can even operate in the dark.
 
“Let us embrace and harness technology to push new frontiers to bring about safer, healthier and productive workplaces for our workers. Together, we can prevent all injuries and ill health at work,” Mr Tan concluded.