Working Hard At Safety
Every day, CapitaLand Residential Singapore has thousands of workers and contractors involved in building quality homes. With so many lives at stake, it is little wonder that the developer is a firm advocate of workplace safety. In July, CapitaLand’s stringent standards and excellence in Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) practices were recognized. It was awarded its first Workplace Safety and Health Developer Award by the Workplace Safety and Health Council and supported by the Ministry of Manpower.
"The Workplace Safety and Health Developer Award is a strong endorsement of CapitaLand's commitment to workplace safety. Aside from ensuring a safe and healthy environment for our staff, contractors, consultants and their workers, we also incorporate design safety features in our developments to provide homebuyers with safe, sustainable and high quality homes with lasting value. We are very encouraged by this recognition and we will continue to strive for excellence in our workplace safety and health practices. Through the active involvement of all stakeholders, we can take workplace safety and health standards in the real estate industry to new heights,” said Mr Wong Heang Fine, CEO of CapitaLand Residential Singapore.
The WSH Awards is a national award with various categories recognising supervisors, WSH officers and companies with innovative WSH practices and excellent WSH performance. The Developer Award honours developers who play an active role in ensuring good workplace safety and health practices among their contractors, bettering even the national average.
“At CapitaLand, we are driven by our philosophy of ensuring Quality, Environment, Workplace Safety and Health when we manage projects. As a leading developer, upholding safety and health standards and practices is the cornerstone of our business. Safety is one of our top priorities, it is not an option.,” said Lee Yew Kwung, SVP Project Development & Management CapitaLand Residential Singapore.
Four of CRS’s developments: d’Leedon, The Interlace, Urban Resort Condominium and The Wharf Residence also received the Safety and Health Award Recognition for Projects (SHARP). The SHARP award is given to projects or worksites that have good safety and health performance and WSH management systems. This includes large-scale projects that mobilise significant manpower and have shown their ability to manage WSH on a project-level.
To manage WSH risks, CRS has a comprehensive WSH Management System in place at every stage of property development. First, contractors are selected through a robust pre-qualification and tendering process. Apart from ISO 9000, ISO 14000 and OHSAS 18000 certification, contractors are also prequalified based on their safety track records. In 2011, all the main contractors appointed were ISO 14001 certified.
“Workplace safety and health has always been central to our project management philosophy. We rely on our contractors and their workers to build quality and iconic homes that is the hallmark of CapitaLand. So it is our responsibility to ensure that the contractors provide a safe and healthy environment for them to work in,” said Lee.
In addition, CRS’s contractors have to abide by a set of stringent safety and health requirement, one of which is to engage their own independent consultants to carry out periodic audits on their worksite’s safety and health management system. Frequent site walks by the CRS project team and the contractor help to pre-empt and resolve potential WSH issues to prevent accidents; while regular site meetings ensure that the standards are being met.
The CRS project managers also go through training to keep themselves up-to-date on the latest WSH standards and initiatives.
“Changing mindsets is one of the most challenging aspects. Most of us have a “it won’t happen to me” mentality and tend to take safety for granted. As a developer, we need to lead by example and continue to educate and remind our contractors of the need to maintain high safety and health standards onsite. We inculcate a mindset of ‘taking personal ownership of safety’ in our contractors. Everyone should take responsibility for their own safety,” added Lee.
A new annual incentive scheme ensures that contractors who achieve high safety standards are rewarded. Conversely, if site inspections turn up negative findings, CRS project managers may impose administrative charges, demerit points or stop-work orders.
“The benefits of maintaining a good safety and health record are clear to all developers. As developers, we have a significant role to play in improving the safety record so as to raise the overall safety and health standards across Singapore’s construction sector. Upholding high safety and health standards also helps enhance our productivity and competitiveness in the long term,” maintained Lee.
CapitaLand aims to contribute to the national vision of lowering workplace fatality rate to less than 1.8 per 100,000 workers by 2018. That is why this developer is hard at work to bring about real change in the industry.