Global Engineering Capability Review

Safety standards

This category measures safety in engineering- intensive sectors using two indicators: the number of fatal injuries per 100,000 workers in engineering intensive sectors, and the UL Safety Index [33].

Singapore: Effective safety regulations, policies and oversight

Singapore boasts a highly impressive record in this category, leading the overall rankings and topping the safety outcomes indicator.

A little over half a century since the island state separated from Malaysia and gained its independence, Singapore has undergone remarkable growth to become a leading technological and financial hub. Among the many changes the country has witnessed is the evolution of safety standards, largely the result of state policy.

The country’s stringent public health and safety standards make companies and individuals liable for safety outcomes through the use of penalties. Regular inspections and education form part of a national strategy that aims to lower workplace injuries and fatality rates to less than one death per 100,000 workers by 2028. (In 2018 the three-year average rate was 1.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.) The 'Vision Zero' movement, [34] launched in 2015 to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities, challenges companies’ senior management to make commitments to this goal by providing support and engagement.

Singapore’s safety success also reflects the collaboration of different stakeholders: the Ministry of Manpower works in tandem with employer and employee groups to improve these standards. Private companies have developed financial incentive schemes to encourage employees to report incidents and near misses and have introduced more safety checks and training.

Companies are being further incentivised to improve their safety records by a new government requirement to publish rates of workplace deaths and major injuries online. This is likely to influence the selection of contractors and their insurance rates, making company investment in improving safety an even greater priority. This idea was one of several proposed by a committee made up of government, employer and union representatives tasked with finding ten-year strategies for workplace safety and health practices.

In a little over half a century, Singapore has undergone remarkable growth to become a leading technological and financial hub

Safety standards: