According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the total number of fatal accidents in Singapore’s construction site to-date is 15. This figure is almost twice the number of cases, at 8. in the same first half of 2015. In a public statement released yesterday (May 28), MOM wrote “concerted and urgent actions” are needed to improve workplace safety in construction.
Safety standards in Singapore are compromised in many sectors, especially in the construction line because salaries of foreign workers are cheap and employment enforcement is lax. A Singapore general worker, typically from Banglahdesh, is paid only around S$800 a month, which is one-fifth of a construction worker in Australia.
The depression of construction sector salaries resulted in falling safety standards as local Singaporeans shun the industry. The influx of foreign workers from third world countries like India and China, resulted in third world construction practices and standards being brought over into Singapore as well.
As a result most foreign workers worked drastic overtime to the tune of exceeding the legal 60 hours a week. The Manpower Ministry does not monitor working hours, rights and salaries, and choose to push the responsibilities to employers.
Singapore employers overtly lapse safety standards due to their obsessive profit-driven stance. Even in larger companies like SMRT, maintenance standards are compromised and in a recent case, the company goes as far to blame a worker who was shocked by a high voltage current for not following protocols.