Legal 101: Workplace Safety and Health Issues - Roles of various stakeholders and recent trends on fines imposed


In February 2017, SMRT was sentenced to a record high fine of S$400,000 in their capacity as an employer in relation to a workplace accident resulting in two (2) fatalities. Although the Workplace Safety and Health Act (“WSHA”) provides for a maximum fine of S$500,000 for first time offenders of workplace fatal accidents, such high fines were previously unheard of.


In Public Prosecutor v GS Engineering and Construction Corp, the High Court laid down the various mitigating and aggravating factors which a sentencing Court will take into account before imposing punishment on an accused company.

Typically, companies are charged under Section 11 WSHA (duties of occupier) or Section 12 WSHA (duties of employers). In recent times, more individuals have been charged under Section 15 (duties of persons at work).


Against that context, there were two (2) recent High Court decisions. In Nurun Novi Saydur Rahman v Public Prosecutor and Anor, the accused was sentenced to 25 weeks’ imprisonment for committing a negligent act under Section 15(3A) WSHA.


In May 2020, the sentence for the appellant/ accused in Mao Xuezhong v Public Prosecutor and Anor was increased from 24 weeks’ imprisonment to 12 months.


The High Court in Mao Xuezhong v Public Prosecutor and Anor examined the earlier cases and laid down various mitigating and aggravating factors which a sentencing Court will have to take into account when sentencing an individual who committed a negligent act in the course of work.


In this webinar, we will spend time understanding the decisions for these three (3) cases and the lessons that can be learnt from them. We will also discuss the following: -


  • Parliament’s intention to enact the Workplace Safety and Health Act
  • Who is an occupier? Are occupiers always liable for accidents at their workplace?
  • Role of occupier versus role of employer
  • Recent trends and fines imposed by the Courts against occupiers and employers for workplace fatal accidents. Are fines going up, down or staying the same?
  • Occupational Safety and Health Division’s imposition of demerit points – any basis for challenge?
  • Can an officer/ employee be made liable for his company’s/ employer’s breach of Workplace Safety and Health Act?
  • Recent trends and fines imposed by the Courts against employees for workplace fatal accidents. When will a fine or a custodial sentence be imposed?
  • Putting it all together: Aggravating versus Mitigating Factors
Who should attend

Developers, main contractors, sub-contractors, workplace safety and health officers, professional engineers, resident technical officers, safety consultants, construction industry professionals.

Trainer Profile

Alfred is a litigation lawyer in private practice. He is a Director at a mid-size law firm, M/s Fullerton Law Chambers LLC. Alfred was a former prosecutor with the Manpower Ministry and Attorney-General’s Chambers before he commenced private practice.


As a prosecutor, Alfred led a team of prosecutors in the enforcement of the Factories Act (now known as Workplace Safety and Health Act) and Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. He also had a hand in the drafting of the Workplace Safety and Health Act and its subsidiary legislation.


In private practice, Alfred has been instructed to act for developers, contractors and sub-contractors in their defence for offences under the Workplace Safety and Health Act. As a commercial litigator, he has acted in matters at all levels of the Singapore Courts as well as in arbitration proceedings.


Platform: Zoom

Addition Information

3 SDUs

*Fee includes GST and e-training material


Payment by cheque, made payable to SISO Academy Pte Ltd

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Course code
Course Category
CPD Point