To improve safety conditions at construction sites and ensure that rules are consistently followed, the government will introduce tougher penalties against companies who flout safety regulations starting from 1 July this year, reported the media.
The existing three-tiered Demerit Points System (DPS), which intensifies penalties for severe and repeated safety violations, will be replaced by a single-tiered system, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Manpower) Hawazi Daipi during the Committee of Supply debate in parliament.
Under this scheme, contractors that have amassed demerit points will not be allowed to hire foreign workers. This applies to the entire firm and not just to the work package (contract).
The equivalent demerit points per violation type will also be tweaked to discourage employers from engaging in unsafe practices. Furthermore, the validity of the demerit points will be extended to 18 months from the current 12 months, and it will apply throughout the organisation as well.
We hope the enhanced DPS will help drive companies to put in greater coherent effort to address systemic safety lapses across all their worksites, added Hawazi.
Last year, the number of workplace fatalities in Singapore decreased to 60 from 73 in 2013. However, the construction sector accounted for 45 percent of the fatalities, while the number of non-fatal injury cases rose in the past three years to 13,000 in 2014 from 10,060 in 2011.