A healthy worker is vital for workplace safety, says minister
Singapore has launched a program to support companies’ efforts to improve employee health.
The one-year assistance program under the Tripartite Oversight Committee on Workplace Safety and Health will guide companies as they go through implementation of an improved system.
At the launch, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, who is a co-chair of the Tripartite Oversight Committee, highlighted how employee health impacts workplace safety.
“We know that a healthy worker is a fitter and more alert worker,” Khor told The Straits Times. “And that will help reduce the risk of workplace injuries, as well as [create] a more productive and effective workforce.”
The launch showcased the program’s three phase-approach during a tour of Sats Inflight Catering Centre 1. The airline catering company is one of 20 companies that was part of the pilot.
During each phase of assessment, intervention, and monitoring and evaluation, the committee will provide consultancy services, reported Straits Times.
Firstly, during the assessment phase, companies identify risks and gaps in its workplace safety and profiles workers’ health status. In March, through a questionnaire, Sats shared its practices with the Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSH Council) and Health Promotion Board (HPB).
They also conducted an on-site visit and employee survey to get an overview of the organisation. The report found that a lot of staff experienced chronic pain.
Next, during intervention, companies address any issues by designing intervention programs and improving management systems.
For Sats, the team reviewed its work processes and decided to hold ergonomics training sessions to teach employees how to reduce and avoid the risk of pain. There were exercise and stretching sessions, as well as lessons on pain-relief techniques.
Finally, companies track and assess the effectiveness of the programs and tweak accordingly to maximise impact.
After three months, initial results from Sats’ program saw almost a third reduction in cases of chronic pain experienced by employees. Additionally, about 16% of employees said they were more flexible.
The company decided to focus more on preventative health management and worked on encouraging employees to exercise and eat healthily. Some planned follow-ups include coaching sessions on pain management as well as offering healthier food options at its cafeteria.
“Health of our workers is just as important as safety,” said Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State for Manpower and co-chair of the committee.