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Speech By Professor Cheong Hee Kiat At The Safety Symposium 2010

Speech By Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President Of SIM University At The Safety Symposium 2010, 9.00am On 8 February 2010 At The NUS Shaw Foundation Alumni House


Guest of Honour, Mr. Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Health;
Our special guests from Ministry of Manpower and Workplace Safety and Health Council;
Colleagues; Ladies and gentlemen;


  1. Good morning. I am pleased to welcome all of you to this Safety Symposium 2010, jointly organized by SIM University (UniSIM) and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

  1. At the BizSafe Convention held last Thursday, it was revealed that Singapore has done really well in terms of workplace safety – the current rate of work fatality of 2.9 is amongst the best in the Asian region. This achievement is only possible with the relentless effort and innovative approaches of our Ministry of Manpower as well as the hard work of the WSH Council and WDA to reduce workplace fatality and improve workplace health and safety. Yet, we also see that more people lost their lives at work last year compared to previous years. There is evidently still a lot of work to be done.

  1. To help this along, UniSIM is pleased to work with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to organize this 2-day Safety Symposium for the first time. We hope this will not be just another safety conference. Indeed we are ambitious in our plans. We wanted to bring together international and local experts to share their experiences and knowledge on creating safer workplaces. We didn’t just want a one-way communication – we also wanted to have participants interacting with one another, and with our speakers – to have open dialogue on issues faced in the organization when trying to implement safety management systems, in effort to create a safer culture. We hope that, through this small start, we can help to raise the awareness of safety issues, and to create a safety community whose expertise our ministries or council can tap on.

  1. And, we want to demonstrate that the safety problem can be tackled from a different perspective – a Human Factors perspective. Maybe, implementing policies and management systems is just not good enough. We need to think about how to design better equipment, better workplaces and better environment for people to work in. Go back to basics. We need to think about how to FIT the jobs to the man:

  1. Do we know whether the person is capable of performing those jobs? Has he been properly selected to do the job? Do we have a good understanding of his limitations? Do we know if he has been given the proper training for the job?

  1. All these issues designing better systems, work and environment, having a good understanding of people, selection and training –are key principles of human factors.

  1. I will leave it to the experts here to tell you more over the next two days.

  1. One of the key strategies of the WSH 2018 framework is to upgrade and raise the stature and professionalism of WSH practice. The Manpower Ministry projected last year that it needs to grow the local pool of WSH professionals to 19,000 by 2018, from the current 4,000. To support the government effort in this, UniSIM is pleased to announce the launch of our new undergraduate programme called Human Factors in Safety. The first intake will be July 2010. We hope this will give a boost to safety standards and record, and help reduce industry productivity loss due to safety lapses. We are pleased to have worked with WSH Council over the last few months to ensure that the programme is recognized by MOM for the purpose of WSH Officer Registration. The 3-year programme will lead to the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Human Factors in Safety.

  1. I want to thank our Guest of Honour, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Hawazi Daipi for gracing this symposium. Also our guests from MOM, WSH Council, WDA, from AAIS, from the various industries for coming to this symposium, and those who have worked to bring this symposium about. Most of all, I want to thank all our speakers for giving your time and for coming here to share your knowledge with us.

  1. I hope that all of you will indeed enjoy these 2 days as we learn and share together.

  1. Thank you.

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