Singapore: New Code of Practice details Chief Executive, Director Workplace Safety and Health Statutory Duties

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In brief

The Code of Practice: Chief Executives’ and Board of Directors’ Workplace Safety and Health Duties (“Code“) will, when gazetted in October 2022, apply to all directors and equivalent officers involved in policy making and executive decisions for business affairs of companies in all industries, even for companies which have no manual work and little risk of physical injury.

While this Code is not mandatory, MOM will consider directors who adopt its principles and measures to have taken reasonably practicable measures to uphold their workers’ safety and health. In prosecutions for offences under the existing Workplace Safety and Health Act 2006 (WSHA 2006), directors may show proof of compliance with the Code as a mitigating factor for the court’s consideration.

We provide below the background to this Code and a summary of the four principles and the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) measures as to management conduct and policy making, diligence, disclosure and reporting, budget, and dedicated staffing to be adopted by individual directors on a continuing basis.

Background

MOM has expressed extreme concern over the increase in workplace fatalities since the start of 2022, as compared to the whole of 2021 and in 2019 pre-COVID. Together with tripartite partners and industry stakeholders, MOM has taken the following steps to hold employers to higher WSH standards in an effort to reduce workplace the fatal injury rate to less than 1 per 100,000 workers by 2028:

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