Singapore prioritises employees’ physical and mental well-being
Stepping up measures to provide mental-health support and prevent workplace accidents will be the other two areas the government is looking into, said Singapore’s senior minister of state for manpower Zaqy Mohamad in his closing speech at the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Conference, held virtually.
The government has accepted these recommendations of the International Advisory Panel (IAP) for WSH for a post-COVID-19 work landscape.
Considering that in future, there may be a more infectious and lethal “disease X” than COVID-19, MOM should build on its experience working with public health authorities through the multi-ministry task force to integrate infectious-disease management in the workplace as recommended by the IAP.
“The Government will work closely with employers and building owners to develop requirements and guidelines, such as sharing information with industry on transmission hot spots, for more targeted risk identification and interventions,” said Zaqy.
To improve employees’ mental health, the IAP has recommended that the government encourage businesses to include mental well-being in their management practices. On its part, MOM has piloted iWorkHealth – an assessment tool to be launched and made available for free to employers next year. Employers should also make their expectations for communications after office hours clear to their staff.
Noting the increase of fatalities and injuries despite the reduction in business and work activities in the first half this year compared to the same period in 2019, Zaqy said accident-prevention measures may have become more laxed as the pandemic measures were put in place after the end of the circuit breaker.
He called on both employers and employees to play their part in reducing WSH risk, adding that technology such as virtual and augmented reality can help in this area.