By Ho Chee Kit, Senior Director, C&W Services Singapore

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower announced recently that they are going to step up enforcement efforts at worksites following several work site fatalities this year. The Manpower Ministry said they are going to ramp up the number of safety inspections in the next two months, in addition to the regular roster of inspections they are planning to conduct.

This brings to focus the increasing importance of health and safety standards, not just at worksites but in many other facilities across the island that house critical operating systems. What is more crucial is the health and safety of the facility personnel and users who spend most of their waking hours at these facilities.

It is therefore reassuring that the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL) is planning to set up an expanded safety training school. The school will target construction personnel including safety supervisors and workers and emphasize on the importance of safety and strict adherence to safety procedures. SCAL will introduce new modes of learning such as experiential training, augmented and virtual reality, gaming and other simulation training tools in a bid to spread awareness on safety issues to facility and technical employees.

This a step in the right direction. C&W Services Singapore, the facilities and engineering arm of Cushman & Wakefield, recognised early the importance of engaging technicians on health and safety procedures.

The team devised a “Safety on the go” app that technicians and facility personnel can download on their phones to receive information on the basics behind Workplace Health and Safety procedures. Facility personnel and technicians can also share best practices through the mobile app and access a checklist to ensure they have completed every step of any particular task that contributes to the overall safety of a facility.

The “Safety on the go” app also pushes out quizzes that technicians can participate in and win prizes. The short quizzes test their understanding of safety procedures and requirements at every worksite managed by C&W Services Singapore. Through the app, facility managers will be able to keep tabs on the technicians’ level of understanding, identify learning gaps and coach every technician to improve their performance.

Reporting of hazards will also be much simpler as the app has a hazard reporting feature. This will enable users to compile the data collected from the reports and analyse them to study trends and used for training.

Developing the app is an important step in transforming the facility management industry. At a time when automation and digitalization of business operations are increasing, there is a strong business case for reducing the time spent by facility managers visiting each site. Facility managers are increasingly being urged to upgrade their skills to a level where they are equipped to monitor a portfolio of sites through a remote operations control command centre.

By using the app, facility managers will be able to keep the communication lines open with a large number of technicians deployed across various sites in the island. This will ensure that technicians adhere to the rigorous safety requirements.

Safety personnel and technicians can download the app via the App Store and Google Play. The app development team is looking to improve the system further to include predictive analytics.

Track the progress of the app in our next blog post.

Ho Chee Kit is a Senior Director at C&W Services Singapore.