Stompers share concern for workers transported in back of lorries: 'It's dangerous'

Submitted by Stomper Francis, Elbow, Jeff

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It has become a perennial issue.

Several Stompers shared their concern for the way workers were transported in the back of lorries that the Stompers felt was unsafe.

Stomper Francis was disturbed to see a vehicle at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 filled with people in its cargo bed one morning.

"The driver had a P-plate and drove a lorry that carried so many workers," said the Stomper.

"He’s probably still under probation. Such drivers shouldn’t carry so many passengers and put innocent lives at risk."

Stomper Elbow shared photos of a vehicle so crowded that one man sitting precariously at the back looked like he could fall right out if the vehicle accelerated suddenly.

"I saw this early one morning near the road towards PSA (Port of Singapore Authority) near Vivocity," said the Stomper.

"Look at the people. It’s dangerous to have passengers seated like that."

For Stomper Jeff, his concern was a lorry transporting cargo that was protruding out of the back of the vehicle next to the workers with the tailgate open.

He shared photos of the lorry near Marina Bay Sands.

These incidents come in the wake of the Aug 2 joint statement by the Transport Ministry, Land Transport Authority, Manpower Ministry, Building and Construction Authority, Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Home Affairs and Singapore Police Force on the transportation of workers on lorries.

The statement said: "While all stakeholders agree on the importance of safety, there are mixed views on whether the transportation of workers in lorries should be banned...

"Employers and industry associations have shared their concerns that if the Government imposes a ban, many companies will not be able to continue operating their business.

"A significant number of companies, especially the small and medium enterprises, have been grappling with cost increases and business disruptions post-Covid-19, and are trying their best to stay afloat and complete their projects on time.

"Beyond financial costs, there are also structural and operational challenges, including the availability of alternative modes of transportation.

"For example, buses may not be suitable for specialist trades, which often need to transport a small crew of workers together with some equipment and/or goods to several different locations within a single day. The situation is exacerbated by a shortage of bus drivers in Singapore, as we had seen with school buses.   

"The Government recognises that it is not ideal for workers to be transported on lorries, but we also understand the genuine concerns from employers. If the companies are unable to operate their business, there will be knock-on effects on society, including delays affecting new housing projects, polyclinics and MRT lines; as well as higher costs for all Singaporeans. Their employees – both Singaporean and migrant workers – would also risk losing their jobs if the companies close down...

"We want to safeguard both safety and livelihoods of our workers, and have worked closely with stakeholders on a suite of additional safety measures. For example, we have: 

  • Mandated that the front passenger cabin be fully occupied before the rear deck can be used to carry workers.
  • Required lorries transporting workers to be fitted with canopies and higher side railings.
  • Raised requirements for S-Pass and Work Permit holders to obtain a Singapore Class 3 licence that will allow them to drive light goods vehicles.
  • Imposed higher penalties for non-compliance.

"The employers recognise this and are partnering government agencies in implementing a further suite of measures to improve the safety of workers. These include: 

  • Putting in place minimum rest time requirements for dual-role drivers of lorries, and making arrangements for all drivers to be accompanied by a vehicle buddy to check that the driver is alert and able to drive safely. The Ministry of Manpower will be conducting spot checks to ensure compliance. 
  • Installing speed limiters on all lorries, with details to be announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs later this year. The Traffic Police will continue enforcement to ensure compliance with existing traffic regulations."