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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 28 Feb 2006

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Workplace Safety and Health Act replaces Factories Act from 1 March 2006

Source: www.mom.gov.sg

Workplace Safety and Health Act to take effect from 1 March 2006

Seven subsidiary legislation will also be gazetted, including new legislation on Incident Reporting and Risk Management.

The Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA), passed in Parliament on 17 January 2006, will come into effect on 1 March 2006. This Act will replace the current Factories Act.
The WSHA forms part of the new Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) framework announced by Manpower Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen in March 2005. It will cover general factories, construction sites and shipyards.
The Act aims to reduce risks at source by making stakeholders accountable for managing the risks they create and taking reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety and health of workers.
Seven subsidiary legislation will also be gazetted under the WSHA. All the subsidiary legislation, with the exception of the Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations, will also come into effect on 1 March 2006.
The subsidiary legislation are:
(a) The Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations

(b) The Workplace Safety and Health (Registration of Factories) Regulations

(c) The Workplace Safety and Health (First-Aid) Regulations

(d) The Workplace Safety and Health (Exemption) Order

(e) The Workplace Safety and Health (Composition of Offences) Regulations

(f) The Workplace Safety and Health (Incident Reporting) Regulations

(g) The Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
Other than the legislation on Incident Reporting and Risk Management, most of the requirements in the subsidiary legislation mirror the current technical and administrative requirements specified in the Factories Act.
The Workplace Safety and Health (Incident Reporting) Regulations ¨C All workplaces to report work-related accidents and diseases from 1 March 2006
Under the Workplace Safety and Health (Incident Reporting) Regulations, reporting of work-related accidents and diseases is expanded to cover all workplaces.
In addition, work-related accidents that result in the death of or injury to members of public or self-employed persons must also be reported to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
This will provide the Ministry with more comprehensive information to identify high-risk workplaces and allow timely measures to be implemented to improve safety and health standards. A summary of the reportable accidents and responsibilities of various parties are provided in Annex A.
Employers, occupiers and doctors who fail to report accidents to the Ministry under the Incident Reporting Regulations can face up to $5,000 for the first offence; and up to $10,000 or 6 months jail or both for the second and subsequent offence. Persons who knowingly make false notifications can face a fine of up to $5,000 or 6 months jail.
To provide ease and convenience when reporting workplace accidents and diseases, employers, occupiers and doctors can use the new online single-point reporting system ¨C iReport from 1 March 2006.
The system caters to the reporting of workplace incidents under the Incident Reporting Regulations as well as the Workmen¡¯s Compensation Act.
An employer who is reporting an accident under both pieces of legislation, needs to submit only one report via the iReport system. iReport is accessible from the MOM website at: http://www.mom.gov.sg/iReport.
From 1 March 2006, all incident reports should be submitted through iReport or via new Reporting Forms available at http://www.mom.gov.sg/oshd.
The Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations ¨C Employers to conduct risk assessments to identify workplace safety and health risks
The Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations require employers, the self-employed and principal (including contractor and sub-contractor) to conduct risk assessments for the purpose of identifying workplace safety and health risks and implementing measures to control the hazards and reducing the risks.
The Regulations will take effect on 1 September 2006 to allow the industry to have more time to prepare and comply with the new requirements.
New OSH hotline for reporting of unsafe workplace practices
In May 2005, the Ministry announced the setup of an OSH hotline for workers to report any unsafe act in their workplaces. Since then, arising from reports made to the hotline, 63 occupiers were issued with compound fines and 18 worksites were issued with Stop Work Orders.
Concurrent with the roll-out of the Workplace Safety and Health Act and its subsidiary legislation, the Ministry will be introducing a new OSH hotline on 1 March, 6317 1111, which will replace the old hotline number (6317 1016).
This new hotline number will be easier for the public to recall. Anyone who wishes to report on unsafe workplace practices can call the hotline at 6317 1111.
More..... (Annex A)

Source: www.mom.gov.sg Press Release 28 Feb 2006

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