Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently announced plans to reduce the city-state’s workplace fatality rate to less than one fatality per 100,000 workers by 2028.
Singapore has already made significant strides in this realm: since 2004, the fatality rate for the same number of workers has dropped from five to just under two. But the bar has been set by places like the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden, where less than one fatality per 100,000 workers is the standard.
To help realize this goal, the government is implementing new rules and incentives for companies to make workplace safety a priority, as well as creating support centers where small businesses can access resources that will bolster their ability to maintain workers’ health and meet new benchmarks. It’s been made clear that employers, workers and the government must work together for this project to be a success.
"Ultimately, we want to encourage companies to take a holistic approach towards workplace safety and health. In Singapore, we call this Total Workplace Safety and Health (Total WSH) because there is a strong correlation between a healthy workforce and a safe workplace," said Lee.
This is a teachable moment for progressive organizations. Singapore’s proactive leadership didn’t rest on their laurels when their workplace fatality rates dropped—they wanted to see them fall further and align themselves with other progressive nations. And they didn’t allow potentially daunting upfront costs, ongoing management needs and the general complexity of this project to be an insurmountable roadblock.
Every lofty goal is reached from a humble jumping-off point, and Singapore has taken their leap in the name of responsibility, sustainability and innovation. They’ve outlined ultimate goals, put manageable plans into action and done so with the knowledge that the government can’t accomplish these goals alone. This big-picture approach to solving a serious problem is one we’ll keep in mind as we set our own ambitious goals for the future of DISA and our industry.