Between 19 May and 22 June, there was a spate of nine workplace fatalities. Preliminary investigations from the Ministry of Manpower revealed that the majority of these fatalities were due to a lack of basic control measures being implemented. These accidents could have easily been prevented with adequate controls and adherence to established safe work procedures.

The Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council, together with associations from the Construction, Marine, Process Engineering, Manufacturing, and Transport and Storage sectors, have come together to rally companies to conduct a Safety Time-Out (STO). The participating associations are:

1. Association of Process Industry;
2. Association of Singapore Marine Industries;
3. Singapore Contractors Association Limited;
4. Singapore Logistics Association;
5. Singapore Manufacturing Federation; and
6. Specialists Trade Alliance of Singapore.

Mr John Ng, Chairman of the WSH Council, said: "It was unfortunate that many of the recent cases involved basic safety lapses. The workers could have been still working healthily and be with their families if simple WSH practices had been followed. Let's prevent all work injuries. I strongly urge all companies to answer this call to take stock of your WSH practices, and review your control measures. Check in with your workers and emphasise that they need to follow safe work procedures, for their own safety and health."

Sample checklists on how to conduct an STO are available on the WSH Council's website.

STOs also provide a good opportunity for senior management to engage workers and unions on the ground and act on issues raised. Doing so enables both parties to be aligned in their goals towards achieving better WSH practices. Zero accidents at the workplace is possible. Together, we can prevent all injuries and ill-health at the workplace.