Dr Ng: Adjust expectations if haze worsens

COVERED: Some construction companies, like Tiong Seng Contractors, have issued workers with N95 masks. Businesses have been asked to look after the welfare of workers more closely amid the haze crisis.


    Jun 25, 2013

    Dr Ng: Adjust expectations if haze worsens

    SINGAPOREANS enjoyed another day of relatively clear skies yesterday, with the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) readings from 7am to 7pm between 55 and 98, which are in the moderate range.

    But the haze situation could worsen again, and essential services - such as garbage disposal, public transport, home construction, retail and food-and-beverage services - could be affected, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen yesterday.

    Dr Ng, who is also the chairman of the Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee, said: "If this happens, I need Singaporeans to be understanding. Adjust our expectations."

    Dr Ng has also asked all ministries to share their haze action plans this week. He warned that it is "not possible for any central agency to come up with a set of instructions that covers the myriad of working circumstances". What it can do is come up with general guidelines, he said.

    Businesses should take the initiative to incorporate these guidelines into their company cultures, he said.

    Yesterday, Dr Ng and Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin visited Changi Airport and a Housing Board construction site in Punggol to see how industries were coping.

    Tiong Seng Contractors' director, Mr Derick Pay, said the firm conducts daily briefings for its 500 workers on health hazards. All workers are equipped with N95 masks. When the PSI reaches 200, it is mandatory for workers to don a mask.

    At a PSI reading above 300, activities like lifting and jobs that require good visibility are halted. When the PSI hits 400, all work is stopped, he said.

    To ensure aircraft safety, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport Group have increased the time between aircraft take-offs and landings since last Wednesday. Runway lights are also turned on during the day. So far, there has been no significant delay.