SINGAPORE, Sept 21 — As part of moves to address the recent spate of workplace fatalities, the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) will give companies in high-risk sectors 15 more days to review their safety procedures, after receiving feedback from the firms that they need more time to do so.

Said the ministry in a Facebook post today (September 21): “MoM and the Workplace Safety and Health Council have received feedback that industries are supportive of the heightened safety measures but would require more time to comply with the mandatory safety time-out, to carry out a thorough review of their safety procedures.”

The safety time-out process, which gives firms time to review their safety procedures and complete activities required by MoM, was initially slated to be from September 1 to 15, but will now be extended until September 30, the ministry added.

“Thereafter, from October 1, we will conduct compliance checks and will take debarment actions against companies found to have not completed their safety time-out.

The time-out will apply to firms in high-risk sectors, such as those in construction, manufacturing, marine, process and transportation and storage.

These companies have been issued with a circular and a safety time-out checklist by MoM, and they have to follow the items listed out in the checklist such as requiring top management to do a walk-about on worksites to encourage workers to report safety risks, and to share learning points from recent fatal incidents.

Companies will have to show documentary proof of having completed the checklist when MoM officers visit companies for routine inspections or investigations.

This is among MoM's measures to address the issue of workplace safety, following the recent spate of workplace fatalities.

Earlier this month, MoM had also imposed a six-month “heightened safety” period. From September 1 to February 28 next year, a company may be barred from hiring new foreign employees for up to three months if it was found to have serious workplace safety and health breaches, such as unsafe workplace conditions or poor risk controls, after a serious or fatal workplace accident.

There have been 37 workplace deaths so far this year, the same number as for the whole of last year.

TODAY has asked MoM for the proportion of companies in high-risk sectors that have completed their safety time-out, as well as the number of bosses that have been summoned by MoM. ― TODAY