Who it applies to

The Workplace Safety and Health Act (CHAPTER 354A) applies to 

  • All workplaces
  • All persons in one or more of the following capacities (a person may at any one time be 2 or more of the following) : 
    • an employer;
    • a contractor;
    • a subcontractor;
    • a principal;
    • a self-employed person;
    • an occupier of a workplace;
    • a designer, manufacturer or supplier of any machinery, equipment or hazardous substance for use at work;
    • an erector, installer or a modifier of machinery or equipment for use at work;
    • an owner, a hirer or lessee of machinery moved by mechanical power or a person who maintains such machinery for use at work,

Under the Act, you will have duties and liabilities imposed on you based on the job role accordingly. Duties and liabilities may be imposed on 2 or more persons, whether in the same or different capacity, and duties and liabilities imposed are not diminished or affected by the fact that it is imposed on 1 or more persons.

So you can’t say, “Oh I don’t know, he do so I do also lor!”

Roles and Responsibilities

Who do you think is responsible for safety in the workplace? Your employer, your supervisor, you? The answer is all the above. Everyone is responsible for safety in the workplace and each group – employers, supervisors and workers – have different levels of responsibilities.

  • Employers should:
    • remove or control risks at their workplace;
    • maintain a safe work environment;
    • make sure that safety is maintained in the handling of all equipment used at the workplace;
    • develop plans for dealing with emergencies; and
    • provide employees with clear plans and resources to keep their workplace safe.
  • Employees should: 
    • follow safety and health procedures at your workplace;
    • not endanger yourself and your colleagues;
    • not tamper with safety devices, or perform wilful or reckless acts;
    • report unsafe work conditions, behaviours and workplace incidents (regardless of whether an injury has taken place); and
    • provide suggestions to improve safety and health at work.
  • Self-employed persons should:
    • Ensure the safety and health of persons who may be affected by any undertaking carried on by him in the workplace
    • Provide information, where required by regulations, to persons at his workplace about work that might affect their safety or health
  • Principals should:
    • Ensure the safety and health of any contractor, direct or indirect subcontractor, and any employee employed by such contractor/subcontractor when at work
    • Ensure the safety and health of any persons other than the above, who may be affected at the workplace.

Duty imposed on the Principal shall only apply where the contractor/subcontractor/employee is working under the direction of the Principal as to the manner in which the work is carried out.

Report workplace incidents

Workplace accident involving employee, causingWorkplace accident involving self-employed person or member of public, causing
DeathInjury (more than 3 days of medical leave, or hospitalised for at least 24 hours)DeathInjury (more than 3 days of medical leave, or hospitalised for at least 24 hours)
Employer to Notify Commissioner for WSH immediately: 6317 1111 Submit report within 10 days of incident via iReport
Employer to Submit report within 10 days of incident via iReport (If employee subsequently dies from injury, notify Commissioner for WSH immediately: 6317 1111)Workplace Occupier to Notify Commissioner for WSH immediately: 6317 1111 Submit report within 10 days of incident via iReportWorkplace Occupier to Notify Commissioner for WSH immediately: 6317 1111 Submit report within 10 days of incident via iReport
Dangerous OccurrenceOccupational disease
Workplace Occupier to Notify Commissioner for WSH immediately: 6317 1111Submit report within 10 days of incident via iReportDoctor to submit report within 10 days of diagnosis.Employer to submit report within 10 days of receiving the written diagnosis via iReport.

How do I implement risk management?

There are six steps involved in a risk management programme.

Hazard Identification
Risk Evaluation
Risk Control
Record Keeping
Implementation and Review
Form a Risk Assessment (RA) team to gather relevant informationIdentify hazards or potential incidentsEstimate the risk levels of each hazard identified and rank them in order of priorityPlan control measures and evaluate residual risksKeep risk assessment reports for at least 3 yearsReview risk assessment whenever there is new information on risks or changes to work processes

What do I do after forming a risk assessment team?

Step 1: Identify the hazards

The RA team needs to work out the potential hazards that your employees may encounter. These tips will help you look out for hazards:

  • Walk around your workplace. Think about the hazards that your employees face.
  • Ask your employees about the work they do and the concerns they may have about injuring or harming themselves at work.
  • Check manufacturer’s instructions for equipment or safety data sheets for chemicals. They are helpful in directing you to hazards that you may not immediately see.
  • Check company records on injuries or work injury compensation claims.
  • Do not forget that these hazards may have a long term effect on your employees’ health. For example, prolonged exposure to loud noises can harm hearing.

Step 2: Evaluate the risks

After developing a list of potential hazards, you need to know the hazards each employee faces. This list is determined by the type of work an employee does. For example, employees manning a storeroom may face the hazard of being struck by an object.

You then need to evaluate the risk level of the hazards by looking at:

  • Likelihood and frequency – Is there a high chance that your employee will be injured because of this hazard?
  • Seriousness – How serious will the injury be?

Step 3: Control the risks

After evaluating the risk level of each hazard, you need to decide how you want to prevent and minimise these hazards. If the hazard is highly possible and can lead to serious injuries, you should remove the hazard completely. If removal is not possible, adopt other control measures. Some questions you should ask yourself, in order of preference, are:

  • Can I ELIMINATE the hazard totally? Is there a safer option?
    • E.g. replacing an electrical power cord with a cordless one to prevent trips.
  • Can I use another work method as a SUBSTITUTE?
    • E.g. replacing solvent-based paint with water-based paint.
  • Can I use ENGINEERING CONTROLS to physically minimise the possibility of harm?
    • E.g. use guardings on paper shredders to prevent hand injuries.
  • Can I adopt ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS and educate my employees?
    • E.g. set up a safe work method for the proper use of a new machine at work, teach your employees this method and constantly remind them to follow the right method.
  • Can I provide PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT for my employees?
    • This is the least preferred approach but may be necessary in certain work processes.
    • E.g. if an employee has to handle a chemical at work and there is no available substitute for this chemical, he or she must be given gloves and masks (if the chemical emits harmful gases).

Refer to the section on common WSH hazards to help you identify and control hazards.

Step 4: Keep records and review them regularly

Review your RA at your workplace every three years. You should also review your plans when an injury occurs, when you purchase new equipment or chemicals or when new information on WSH is made available.

A good RA plan can only be effective if your employees know and understand the procedures. Make sure that the plan and all changes to the plan are communicated to each employee.

And despite your efforts, if your employee is injured at work or develops an illness because of work, keep a record of it and store it for at least three years.

Business owners of SMEs can tap on WSH Council’s bizSAFE programme. Visit for more information.

Some Basic Safety Tips for Media Production

  • Call sheets should contain safety information for the day i.e. important contact numbers, like facility security of the filming location, first aid personnel on the team, etc
  • Conduct safety briefings at every filming location at the start of each day. Inform everyone on evacuation routes and assembly areas, location of first aid kits, fire extinguishers, AEDs.

4 most dangerous things on a film set (courtesy of AV8 Media Pte Ltd)

  • 1. Weight
    • C-Stands can be incredibly dangerous even with no weight on them
    • Always keep the big leg under the weight, this is the leg that provides the most support.
    • Always sandbag the big leg. This is the highest leg and it keeps the sandbag off the floor. You want the full weight of the bag on the stand.
    • Always keep the knuckles on the right side. Putting the stand in this
    • orientation ensures that the weight self-tightens the arm. If put on the left, the weight of the arm alone will loosen the arm and could make it fall.
    • Never remove a sandbag from a C-stand until you know why it’s there.
    • Don’t try and shift a C-stand or light stand that is plugged in or extended
    • See and for more information
  • 2. Electricity
    • The presence of lights, generators and other equipment on set presents risk of electrocution and electrial fires.
    • Keep electrical equipment away from water and dampness.
    • Never use electrical equipment if your hands are moist, even if it’s from perspiration, as this can mean the difference between a light shock and a fatal shock.
    • Never use water to put out an electrical fire – water can cause a fatal shock. Use a Class C fire extinguisher.
    • Always inspect the area you’re working in for electrical hazards.
    • Don’t overload circuits.
    • Make sure equipment is properly grounded.
    • Check electrical cords for fraying and other signs of wear.
    • Be sure to LOCKOUT/TAGOUT all switches or completely de-energize before servicing or repairing any equipment.
    • If a fellow employee receives a shock:
      • a. DO NOT PULL THE VICTIM AWAY WITH YOUR HANDS – you will be shocked too.
      • b. Use a broom, belt, towel, rope or other non-conductive material to separate the victim form the source of shock.
      • c. Try to disconnect the source of shock and call for an ambulance.
      • d. Once the victim is separated from the electrical source, begin CPR immediately and continue until the ambulance arrives.
  • 3. Falls
    • Out of 205 production accidents in Hollywood from 1990 to 2014, the most common cause was a fall
    • Treat climbing as a two-person job. Have someone spot you (or act as the spotter yourself)
    • Don’t try to access something with the wrong tool. If you can’t reach it from a ladder, go find a longer ladder or find another way to access what you need. Balancing on your tip toes while trying to rig a heavy light is a great way to fall.
  • 4. Fatigue
    • Many fatigue-related injuries don’t get reported because they occur on the
    • way home from a shoot. Drive or ride safely .
    • Stay rested ,fed and hydrated and try to ensue yourself and your crew get
    • sufficient breaks .
    • Don’t take shortcuts just because yourself or your crew is tired.
    • Remember that safety is everybody’s responsibility

More resources for on set safety guidelines