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Speech by Dr Gan Siok Lin, Executive Director at Return-To-Work: What's Next? Seminar




Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome participants

1.     Welcome to the Workplace Safety and Health Institute’s Visiting Expert Series seminar today on “Return-To-Work: What’s Next?”. I am very happy to see this excellent turnout - with a good mix of participants from the public, healthcare and insurance sectors, and HR and WSH professionals from various industries.

Brief introduction to WSH Institute and the Visiting Expert Series

2.     This Visiting Expert Series (VES) seminar is organized by the WSH Institute and supported by the Ministry of Manpower.  The Institute was set up in 2011 for the purpose of conducting quality applied research and providing evidence-based information to MOM, WSH Council and industry stakeholders, to improve WSH practices and performance. 

3.     We also organise events, such as today’s VES seminar, where we bring in relevant experts to exchange views, spark ideas, foster collaboration with related agencies and facilitate the use of research findings by policymakers and industry.

Importance of RTW

4.     With the rapidly ageing population and the lean-manpower economy which we are moving towards, it is imperative that we help our injured workers, irrespective of whether the injury is due to work or not; and workers who suffer disabling medical conditions e.g. strokes and heart attacks and even workers post-chemotherapy, to ease them back to the workforce successfully, so as to minimise the financial and social impact to the worker and his family.  RTW aims to improve the work ability of workers, irrespective of the cause of his injury or ill health.   While we bear this in mind, we will focus this afternoon's discussion on the RTW management of workers who have suffered work injuries.

Recap recent changes to WICA to incorporate RTW treatments

5.     In January 2016, the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) was amended to include expenses relating to RTW.  This means that expenses for case management, functional capacity evaluation and worksite assessment for the purpose of rehabilitating injured workers is claimable under WICA. However, the take-up rate has been slow.

6.     Based on data from AIG and AXA which covers 30% of the WIC insurance market share, only less than 4% of all medical claims are RTW-related.

Building awareness on RTW through the VES seminar

7.     Through this seminar, we hope to raise awareness on the challenges faced by injured workers and the kind of support needed to facilitate RTW.  We have a good line-up of speakers today.  They will be sharing with you on their return-to-work experience.

8.     Firstly, we have Mr Goh from Veolia to share his personal experience on how his company, Veolia had helped and supported him on his recovery journey after being injured in an explosion incident.

9.     Next up, we have Mr Wendell Harms from Veolia sharing from the company’s perspective on the system and processes they have in place to support incident and injury management.      

10.            Rosalind from the WSH Institute will share the research findings from a study conducted by the Institute to understand the social and financial impact of work injuries for local workers.

11.            We also have Prof Geisen, Professor for Workplace Integration and Disability from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, School of Social Work from Switzerland to share how other countries manage workers with disability, based on his recent research work.

12.            And from the insurers, we have Ms Tsang from AIG who will share on the insurer’s role in return-to-work, as well as the system and processes they have in place to support it.

13.            Do also take this opportunity to clarify any doubts you may have during the panel discussion which will be facilitated by Ms Heidi Tan from Tan Tock Seng Hospital. 

Call for action: Emphasize the importance of the various stakeholders in the RTW journey

14.            I hope today’s seminar will help all of us broaden our knowledge on return-to-work.  Let this seminar be a call for action, for all of us to play our part in the return-to-work journey for our injured workers - to integrate and bring them back to our workforce successfully.

15.            Regardless of whether you are a CEO, HR manager, insurer, WSH professional, union leader, policy maker or just a work colleague, I hope you will take action to make a difference.    

16.            On behalf WSH Institute and, if I may say, all the workers in Singapore, I would like to thank you for joining us today, for wanting to know more about return to work.  We appreciate it very much.

17.            With this, I wish you a fruitful and insightful seminar ahead.