App to report hazards among SAF's safety improvements
SafeGuardian allows safety issues to be acted on more quickly
Servicemen from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) can now take photos in camps and training areas using their personal devices, but with one catch - they may do so only to report a safety hazard using a new smartphone app.
The SafeGuardian app is the latest of several improvements SAF has made to its safety processes, and aligns with the recommendations of the second External Review Panel on SAF Safety (ERPSS), which ended its three-year term last year.
The first ERPSS was formed in 2013 to validate safety practices in SAF, and determine if they match up with best practices of industries and other armed forces.
The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) yesterday announced the improvements, which includes the appointment of "safety advocates" - servicemen who gather safety concerns and feedback from their peers and relay them to their commanders.
The second ERPSS provided a range of feedback and improvement areas to SAF, and many of the recommendations have since been implemented, said Mindef.
"Of significance was the importance of encouraging open reporting of hazards and near-misses that can be translated into key learning opportunities for servicemen," it added.
The third ERPSS started its three-year term on Feb 10 this year.
The roll-out of the SafeGuardian app began last month and is being progressively expanded to the rest of SAF.
As at last Thursday, more than 60 per cent of the reported hazards through the app have been resolved.
Commanders in the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) have been using the app since June 28.
Second-Lieutenant Shah Divya Vipulkumar, a platoon commander in BMTC, said the SafeGuardian apps allows safety issues to be acted on more quickly compared with previous reporting methods, where servicemen had to report hazards to their immediate commanders, who would then lodge a report on their behalf.
A photo of the issue would previously have to be snapped using a unit-approved camera.
Mindef had previously said that photos taken on the new reporting app will be confined within the app, and will not be accessible via a phone's gallery, thus allaying security concerns.
Apart from improving feedback channels, SAF said it is also improving the knowledge of its safety officers by engaging external agencies to conduct courses.
Besides internal courses developed by each uniformed service, officers holding safety appointments are tasked with acquiring external Workplace Safety and Health qualifications.
Depending on the officers' job scope, these may include courses on working at heights, or implementing risk management plans.
Each service also conducts safety forums chaired by their safety committees to discuss safety data trends, share best practices and discuss measures to manage occupational health matters, with such sessions typically held once a month.
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