Safety Above All

With one simple idea, many lives are made safer – thanks to thinking differently to bring services closer to workers.
For those in his line of work, seeing workers perform unsafe practices is unbearable, says Mr Eric Pook. “Even when we are off-duty, we would try to intervene and halt any unsafe work activities within our own capacity.”

Eric Pook
Principal Manager
Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
ExCEL Innovation Champion

It was an idea that would reduce injuries and save lives.

As a Principal Manager at the MOM, Mr Eric Pook manages Workplace Safety and Health programme developments. He noticed that construction workers, after being on the job for some time, tend to lose touch of what they had learnt in mandatory construction safety courses. Staying vigilant for working-at-heights safety was crucial, as any mistake could cause severe injuries or even cost lives.

However, it was a challenge for workers to take time out to attend refresher courses in a classroom setting. To overcome this, Mr Pook suggested setting up a mobile classroom and clinic that could travel to various workplaces. It would bring re-training lessons and basic health check-ups right to the workers.

This initiative has proven a success, with participating companies praising the mobile clinic for helping to identify and manage height hazards in their workplaces.

Mr Pook, 45, says: “We hope to have as many touch points as possible. Workers who have benefited can also pass on their knowledge to fellow workers.”

If there are barriers to innovation, such as a lack of support, try again with more testing and “feasibility research”.

The idea of a pod station in the mobile clinic came from the concept of pod or capsule hotels, he says. His advice for innovating? Be open-minded and look out for useful, creative and innovative information in the news or on social media, and convert them into useful concepts and ideas that can be developed.

If there are barriers to innovation, such as a lack of support, try again with more testing and “feasibility research”.

Referencing a Bruce Lee philosophy, Mr Pook says: “Innovation is like water. It needs to flow and pass through all the possible barriers and obstacles in order to attain the shape of the final product.”

This story is part of a Public Service Week series called At the Heart of Transformation, celebrating public officers whose sense of purpose push them to always improve the way they work.

Read more in this series:

    Jun 7, 2018
    Alvan Yap
    Brenda Lim
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