Improving Engagement with Workers


In Singapore, there are a large number of local and foreign workers in the service industry, such as F&B, retail and hospitality, and also in the manufacturing and construction sectors. These workers are important contributors to Singapore’s ongoing success. MOM’s aim is to ensure that these workers are given fairer, better and safer workplaces.

MOM has a lot of information to be communicated to these workers. The Employment Act (EA) sets the basic employment standards in Singapore for workers and employers. In addition, for the employment of foreign workers, the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) covers other responsibilities for both the employer and the foreign worker.

Part of MOM’s role is to make sure that employers comply with these standards and that workers are aware of their rights. Workers who need assistance can also approach MOM.


MOM messages will thus have to be understandable for the relevant worker groups (for example, providing translations or simplifying of the message through more graphical presentations). Its main challenge is in the distribution of the message.

Particularly for foreign workers, MOM works with employment agents, employers, as well as their respective embassies in informing workers of their employment rights. MOM also organises events at foreign worker dormitories, but it can only reach up to 50% of all foreign workers because of the large number of dormitories. The rest of the workers occupy a range of shared accommodation and therefore are too de-centralised to effectively reach out to them. A similar challenge faced by MOM is disseminating various employment-related messages to local workers.

Most foreign workers and local low wage workers do not own smart phones. Access to the internet is also limited. Foreign workers tend to use pre-paid mobile cards and frequently change their mobile numbers (which may also be registered under a friend or co-worker’s name).


This hackathon is focused on establishing solutions to engage and interact with foreign workers and local low-wage workers so that they are better aware of their employment rights. How can technology be leveraged to better communicate with and engage these workers? How can we provide information regarding various employment laws to these workers in an easy-to-understand manner?

Designing the Next Generation Work Pass


All foreign workers receive a work pass card upon granting of the work pass. They first need to register in person at MOM before they are issued a pass, which is usually valid for two years. The card shows the worker’s employment details (employer and occupation), personal details (date of birth, nationality, etc.) and expiry date of this card / work permit.

work passwork pass

Like a Singaporean’s identity card, this card serves as a form of identity for this worker. The cardholder will need this when purchasing a mobile SIM card, renting a room or house or applying for banking facilities, for example.


Today, the information displayed on the work pass card is static; changes to the worker’s profile, for example, the worker’s employment details or residency status are only reflected with the issuance of a new card.


How can we best relay/ reflect updates to the worker’s profile while saving time and resources required to reprint and reissue new and renewed work pass cards? How would a ‘smart’ Next-Generation Work Pass look like or work? You may consider the pass itself and / or the system supporting its issuance and use.

How can we make the Work Pass do more than just display basic information, to serve MOM, employers and employees better? For example, it can hold the person’s CV (employment history, skill sets, etc.). Can it become a healthcare or insurance card or an access card to facilities (like dormitories)?

What is the potential to use wearable technology as a way to interact with the pass holder, push personalised information, etc.?

Driving Excellence in Workplace Safety and Health

Part 1: Engaging Workplace Safety and Health Stakeholders


Singapore’s national Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) framework was revamped in 2005 with three key principles: (i) greater industry ownership of WSH outcomes; (ii) reduction of risk at source by requiring all stakeholders to eliminiate or minimise the risk they create; and (iii) prevention of accidents through tougher penalties for poor WSH management. Under the new framework, the legislation and enforcement moved from a prescriptive-oriented to a performance-based one.

With the launch of the WSH 2018 national blueprint in 2009, and the extension of WSH Act to all workplaces in 2011, the workplace fatality rates have halved from 4.0 per 100,000 employees in 2005 to 2.1 per 100,000 employees in 2013. The target is to further reduce the fatality rate to less than 1.8 per 100,000 employees in 2018. This would allow Singapore to have one of the best workplace safety records in the world.


While Singapore’s WSH performance has improved since 2005, there are challenges that we need to address. Although efforts have been geared towards bringing down the fatality and injury rates, these seem to be reaching a point of stagnation and have been hovering around the same levels since 2011. An analysis of the statistics suggest that while the other sectors have generally made improvements in WSH performance over the years, the incidences of fatality and injury have increased in the construction industry.

If we are to realise our goal of having one of the best safety records in the world, the right mindset and attitude are needed at the workplace to reinforce the importance of WSH. Accordingly, WSH 2018 makes explicit the need to establish a progressive and pervasive safety and health culture.

We have made great strides in engendering collective industry ownership of WSH outcomes. As a next step, we need to strengthen personal ownership of WSH, where individuals see WSH as a matter of course, taking responsibility for their personal safety and that of those around them. This can only be done when people start to view safety and health as a way of life, rather than as a set of safety rules and procedures to be adhered to, with penalties imposed for non-compliance. One way of cultivating this attitude is by instilling the value of safety and health at an early stage.

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How can technology-enabled tools also assist more experienced employees not to be complacent and change their mindsets and behaviour; and to take greater personal responsibility for their safety and health at the workplace?

What technology-enabled tools can be developed to instill the value of WSH early on (in school, in vocational training, etc.), so that every individual will see WSH as a way of life and not just ‘compliance’ with regulations?

How can knowledge management and collaboration tools, social media and other options extend the reach and depth of our outreach and other engagement efforts to proliferate WSH messages to all workplaces, especially SMEs and reach every single employee?


Part 2: Managing Workplace Safety And Health Risks


Many injuries and work-related ill health could be prevented, if risk management was carried out effectively. Since the introduction of mandatory risk assessment in 2006, companies in Singapore had made progress in WSH. However, investigation into the various accidents revealed that more must be done to make the risk management process more effective.

In the longer term, there is also need to make sure that we are ready for the changing demographics of Singapore’s workforce and address the associated challenges it poses. Singapore’s workforce is rapidly aging, with an increasing incidence of chronic diseases. We are also seeing the emergence of new health threats, such as work-related stress, musculoskeletal disorders, as well as hazards arising from the introduction of new technologies and processes.


A holistic approach needed to be taken on to manage safety, health and wellbeing of employees in the workplace. It involves the integration of workplace safety, health and wellbeing interventions as workplace safety will affect health and vice versa. For example, a crane operator may suffer from diabetes that is poorly controlled. If he faints as a result of low blood sugar level during work, the crane he is operating could crash. If his health condition had been managed properly, the accident may be avoided.

Success requires all industry stakeholders to appreciate potential risks, assume full accountability and be competent in managing risks at the workplace and individual level.

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Opportunities Risk Management 2.0

How do we transform risk management beyond a mere “paper exercise” of filling up templates and checklists in compliance to a highly pragmatic, effective and action-based tool implemented at all workplaces?

How can technology improve risk management by assisting stakeholders (particularly at employer side) to better identify and analyse, plan and implement risk controls? SMEs, in particular, could need more help in this area.

Employee Well-being

How can we effectively manage risks related to employees’ safety and health with better tracking and monitoring of health parameters e.g. body temperature, respiratory rate, etc.? What role can Internet of Things (sensors, wearables, etc.) play?