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Singapore tightens workplace safety measures, increases fines and mandates surveillance on construction sites

Starting June, Singapore will impose a S$50,000 max fine for safety breaches and require surveillance cameras on construction sites worth S$5 million or more to enhance workplace safety.



SINGAPORE — Starting from June, companies found breaching safety regulations will face a steeper maximum fine of $50,000, as the government tightens measures under the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act.

Additionally, construction sites with contracts worth S$5 million or more will be required to install surveillance cameras to monitor safety compliance, serving both as a deterrent to unsafe practices and a tool for investigating safety-related incidents.

This enhancement of penalties, effective from 1 June, targets industries committing major offences under the WSH Act Subsidiary Legislation, which contribute significantly to workplace deaths, serious injuries, or dangerous incidents like explosions.

Common violations include the lack of protective structures to prevent falls, failing to appoint qualified personnel for critical roles, and neglecting the maintenance and inspection of equipment such as cranes and scaffolds.

Despite a notable reduction in workplace fatalities and major injuries in 2023, which saw 36 workers lose their lives — a 21.7% decrease from 46 in 2022 — and major injuries drop to 590 from 614, authorities are determined to avoid complacency.

“We don’t want to have a situation where we are complacent. We don’t want to be a one-hit wonder,” stated Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad during a site visit at Serangoon Polyclinic’s ongoing construction across Nex shopping mall and Serangoon MRT station.

While 2023 marked a record low in workplace incidents, the memories of higher rates in preceding years loom large. “We had a record low year last year, but let’s bear in mind as well that in the year before that we were still grappling with high (fatality and major injury) rates. Therefore, we wanted to ensure that this is sustainable over time,” Mr Zaqy elaborated.

During his visit, the media were shown the WSH measures implemented by Zheng Keng Engineering and Construction, the project’s main contractor. Innovations include a video surveillance system that ensures workers wear their helmets and vests correctly.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) explained that the increased fines are intended to foster greater ownership and accountability for workplace safety, especially among senior leaders who influence safety cultures within companies.

Although the construction sector showed improvements in 2023, it remained a significant contributor to workplace fatalities and major injuries. A multi-agency workplace safety task force had initially announced these measures in May 2023, clarifying that the costs would be borne by the companies.

Acknowledging the financial implications, Mr Zaqy emphasized the overarching importance of worker safety. “This should not be a cost consideration because this is about saving lives. Every life is precious, and certainly, you want to move towards zero tolerance for any fatality,” he affirmed.

The new Polyclinic in Upper Serangoon is expected to open its doors in 2025.

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This idea of increasing the fines is still insufficient.

I still maintain the big boss, the CEO, must be personally held accountable before we can see a culture of safety consciousness pervade the company.

I understand all workers at construction sites are required to attend safety courses; if not, why not? And if yes, perhaps said safety courses are inadequate and need to be revamped and improved upon.

This cannot collect much revenue. COE still reigns supreme

Singapore is dependent on cheap migrant workers to keep construction costs down. But the ruling government keeps enacting policies that increase construction costs.

Isn’t this counterproductive?

I still wonder if the country is even reaping any savings by relying on these migrant workers.

The increase in fines is not the solution. All working on construction sites should be mandated to attend safety courses.

The piece meal of politics trying out their hand to enhance the SG Govt Services for the people, to the people, again in trendy, overdrive which attempt to sway people of SG their output deserves being paid Millions of Dollars Salaries. SG is dead under these useless heap of Ownself praise ownself politicians. Already dead SG begins to rot actually, when the 1stvwave of trash came to dethrone the hardworking labour when actually it’s management of labour that is at pure fault. If SG labour force not up to stds tt require trash to replace them gradually year after year,… Read more »

Some miws in charge were sleeing on the job for years…after 100s of fws as well as sg workers died on the job…
Im still seeing fws doing drilling works w/o ear plugs & eye protection ..still seeing fws applying tar on roads…fumes emitting from it , yet no protective wear…
I always say a prayer for them…
Now only the mil$ authority figures waking up?

This SGov is only good at revolving around $$$ when come to law punishment.
It won’t include further harsh penalty like caning, jail or even hanging.
As usual, it will only increase the fine, still the fine and still the fine.
Where got deterrence when many people can pay the fines?