02 Feb 2019

Speech by Mr Darren Brunton, Chairman, Institution of Occupational Safety & Health at the MDISSpeeches

Dr Eric Kuan, President of the Management Development Institute of Singapore;

Dr R Theyvendran, Secretary-General of the Management Development Institute of Singapore;

Dr Duncan Sharp, Dean of School for School of Clinical & Applied Sciences, Leeds Beckett University;

Mr Tim Briggs, Course Director, School of Clinical & Applied Sciences, Leeds Beckett University;

Distinguished Guests;


Ladies and Gentlemen,

1  Good morning and a very warm welcome to all of you.   It is indeed a special honour and a humbling experience for me to be here today at the MDIS-Leeds Beckett University graduation ceremony, in the presence of so many distinguished guests and graduands.

2  Graduation ceremonies are always memorable. I extend my heartiest congratulations to all of you on attaining a Bachelor of Science (Hons) Safety, Health and Environmental degree.   This significant milestone in your academic journey is a stepping stone towards an exciting future, and fulfillment of your dreams and aspirations.  It is also a time of recognition of your hard work, determination and perseverance that has resulted in your academic success. 

Strategic Partnership
3  Recognising the importance of workplace safety and health, MDIS and Leeds Beckett University, UK, have established a strategic partnership to provide quality higher learning opportunities for safety and health professionals.  I commend both institutions and wish them greater success in cultivating graduates that will contribute to industrial safety, health and environmental management to make the workplace safer and healthier.

4  Occupational safety, health and environmental management is set to grow remarkably in the coming years, as companies increasingly adopt measures to ensure a progressive and pervasive workplace safety culture. Your qualifications are recognised and highly valued in the industry. I trust that you will continuously grow and excel in your field, to create your own success story and do your alma mater proud.

Accredited Qualifications
5  Graduands, your qualification is also accredited by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and recognised by the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore.  Advancing Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) of the nation, the Ministry of Manpower has played a pivotal role in its journey towards establishing WSH excellence in Singapore.  Guided by its national strategies developed in 2005 and 2008, the Ministry has strengthened the regulatory framework, built capabilities and a heightened awareness of safety and health issues, with a focus on reducing and preventing injuries and risks at the workplace.

6  IOSH is the Chartered body and the largest membership organisation for safety and health professionals, and our members in Singapore are becoming increasingly influential in businesses here thanks to that increased focus, shaped by the Ministry of Manpower, on the many benefits good health and safety at work can bring.

7  Working together, the Ministry of Manpower, businesses and the safety and health profession have secured significant improvements, with workplace fatal injury rates declining. In 2009, the challenge was put to companies to achieve an even lower workplace fatal injury rate of less than 1.8 per 100,000 employed persons by 2018.  The WSH 2018 strategy was introduced with a new thrust on building a progressive and pervasive workplace and safety culture, encouraging stakeholders to view WSH as a personal responsibility and take proactive preventive measures to reduce workplace risks1.

1 https://www.mom.gov.sg/~/media/mom/documents/safety-health/publications/wsh-2018-plus.pdf?la=en

8  As professionals in the WSH industry, you have a critical role in promoting integrated approaches in managing the safety and well-being of workers at the workplace. The valuable knowledge and skills that you have acquired will prepare you for a strong start in your career as health and safety practitioners or in some cases maybe, greater professional development in a career that is already underway.  While cultivating the right mind set and good practices to sustain excellence in your field, sharing of best practices will further encourage greater learning and facilitate an environment of continuous improvements at the workplace.

Strengthen Competencies
9  In order to deliver sustained improvements in performance across all sectors of the industry, it is equally important for you to strengthen your competency and skills with specialised and enhanced training to undertake the complexities of the various industry-related projects.    The Ministry of Manpower together with the Singapore Institution of Safety Officers offers numerous industry specific training programmes and career progression pathways for WHS professionals. With a deeper mastery of skills and competencies, you will be able to further improve your contribution to the industry and work towards reducing workplace fatalities and create a culture of prevention of work-related injuries and ill-health at the workplace.    

10  Also, remember to draw on the soft skills that you have acquired, at MDIS, such as, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and teamwork.  These skills will be useful in critically analysing processes at the workplace; collaborating and co-operating with others in undertaking creative solutions in managing challenges efficiently and effectively.  

As another example this year, IOSH will introduce an important programme of initiatives to help safety and health professions develop those competencies and skills. If you’re not an IOSH member already, I would recommend you join. It has certainly helped me and my colleagues in the Singapore Branch develop and make an impact as practitioners.

11  Finally, in your search for success, continue to strive to be the best you can be in life, building a strong, safety and health culture to elevate your organisation and employees’ well-being. You can make the difference, by making Singapore a safe and healthy workplace for everyone and a centre of excellence in the field of workplace safety and health.

12  Once again, I extend my heartiest congratulations to all of you on your achievements and I wish you the very best.  


Thank you.