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    May 08, 2014

    Worker safety to be part of building plans

    IT WILL be mandatory for developers to draw up a safety plan to identify risks and hazards at worksites before work starts.

    A workgroup led by the Ministry of Manpower and the Building and Construction Authority will be formed to consult the industry and work out details to implement the mandatory Design for Safety programme. The scheme was introduced in 2008, but it has been on a voluntary basis.

    The details will be announced by the end of this year, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the launch of the National Workplace Safety and Health Campaign yesterday.

    Under the new format, developers and designers would have to identify the risks - and control them - upstream, said Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister.

    "Builders and facility operators will then have significantly fewer risks to manage downstream."

    In the first three months this year, 12 out of 19 workplace deaths were at construction sites. Last year, the construction sector's fatality rate was seven for every 100,000 workers, up from 5.9 the year before.

    Safety experts have been lobbying for this approach, and said that mandating it is the "way to go".

    Workplace Safety and Health Council chairman Lee Tzu Yang said the move would speed up the pace of implementation.

    Dr Ho Nyok Yong, president of the Singapore Contractors Association, said that this move will save time and costs, as compared to changing a building plan after the tender has been awarded and work has started.