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News » Singapore cracks down on 23 employers violating heat stress rules

Singapore cracks down on 23 employers violating heat stress rules

Photo from labourbeat.org

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE — Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has taken enforcement actions against 23 employers for breaching the country’s enhanced heat stress measures aimed at protecting outdoor workers. 

The measures, implemented in October 2023, require employers to monitor the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) hourly during outdoor operations and provide at least 10-15 minutes of rest per hour in shaded areas when the WBGT reaches 32°C or higher for workers engaged in heavy physical activities.

Employers must also implement a buddy system to facilitate the early detection of heat stress symptoms.

Singapore leads efforts to protect workers from climate change

In a statement, MOM revealed that it has inspected nearly 70 workplaces since the enhanced measures took effect. 

“We have worked with these employers to rectify the lapses and put in place measures to protect their workers from risk of heat injury,” the ministry said.

Despite the breaches, MOM noted that only two heat-related incidents have been reported since the new rules were introduced, and the annual number of such incidents has remained low in recent years, with no more than five cases annually. 

Global warming prompts action

The enforcement actions come as rising global temperatures increase the risk of heat-related illnesses for outdoor workers worldwide. 

According to the International Labour Organization, more than 2.4 billion workers are at risk of excessive heat exposure while working, marking an increase from 65.5% to 70.9% since 2000. 

There are also 1.6 billion workers exposed to UV radiation causing over 18,960 work-related skin cancer deaths yearly.

Similarly, as global temperatures continue rising, 800 million people working outdoors in tropical regions face severe risks to their health and productivity, according to a study published in the Cell Press journal One Earth.

It stated, “We show that under an additional 1C of warming, 800 million people in the tropics will live in areas where heavy work should be limited for over half of the hours in the year.”

With the world entering an era of “global boiling,” as described by the United Nations, governments worldwide are taking steps to protect workers from the warming climate, with similar measures implemented in places like Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates

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