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Working with the Singaporean Government to help safeguard the public from major hazards


The Challenge

HSE's goal-based and proportionate approach to managing risk in high hazard industries is of growing interest to governments around the world, where the UK's regulatory expertise is generally regarded as exemplary.

Our experience and specialist knowledge of major hazards regulation and regulatory infrastructure development resulted in Singapore awarding the HSE International Team a project to review the regulation, permitting, storage and processing of hazardous materials by petrochemical facilities based on Jurong Island.

The high hazard potential of these facilities presents a major risk to Singapore's current and future economy, and HSE's remit was to provide impartial, expert best practice guidance on the effective and affordable management of risk, whilst simultaneously facilitating the ongoing development of Jurong Island's petrochemical industries as a key contributor to Singapore's economy.

The Solution

Jurong Island is an industrial zone in Singapore that has a high density of major hazard installations, including strategically important refineries and other petrochemical and chemical industries. The Singapore Economic Development Board (SEDB) asked HSE to provide detailed advice on new technical guidelines and criteria for land planning decisions, enabling them to evaluate the cumulative risk from the various industrial operations in order to better safeguard the public.

We provided an in-depth analysis of their current criteria and risk assessment methodologies, comparing this with other approaches taken across the world. We developed new quantified risk assessment guidelines and criteria for toxic, flammable and explosive hazards that allow consistent, proportionate decisions on land use planning to be taken on a sound scientific basis.

These guidelines were supplemented by substantial guidance documents and stakeholder meetings with industry and senior figures from government agencies to support engagement.

The Outcome

The new Quantified Risk Assessment guidelines have been issued, supporting the management and control of major accident hazard risks to safeguard the public in Singapore. Following on from this work, HSE supported Singapore in its move to a UK-style Control of Major Accident Hazard (COMAH) safety case approach - a growing trend worldwide. Furthermore, a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Manpower has been agreed to enable further cooperation across a wide range of health and safety topic areas.

"[HSE's Human Factors] lecture was really superb! It really brought us new insights into accident investigation applying Human Factors. HSE/UK are really awesome and truly the leader in the Workplace Safety and Health arena."

Lim Cheong, OSH Inspectorate, Singapore Ministry of Manpower

"We appointed HSE to support us in reviewing Singapore's QRA guidelines as HSE had the relevant experience and capabilities in the regulation of health and safety. Although our project with HSE is still ongoing, HSE has so far demonstrated a strong understanding of the issues and the context of Singapore's operating environment.  HSE has been responsive, competent and has provided an excellent level of service."

Singapore Economic Development Board (SEDB)

"HSE has always been very supportive in this project since the start and this could be seen through the flexibility as well as the additional efforts HSE has put in all these while".

Alfred Tan, SRMC Officer, Safety & Risk Management Centre, SEDB

Subsequently, HSE has provided regulatory support to Singapore's extensive construction sector which, influenced by the good practice demonstrated during construction works for the 2012 London Olympics, wishes to draw upon and learn from the UK's experience in this area.

These, and future collaborative health and safety projects, are beneficial to both Britain's and Singapore's economies. Furthermore, Singapore's adoption of UK regulatory systems will make it easier for British businesses, already familiar with similar regulation, to establish themselves and achieve compliance in Singapore. This offers mutually beneficial knowledge sharing and learning experiences, further enhancement of the UK's reputation for regulatory excellence and economic growth for British businesses seeking international expansion.

The transfer of HSE's regulatory knowledge and skills, comparable to that which has benefited Singapore, is already attracting further commercial opportunities from countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

For more information on our international work visit our International Leader in Health and Safety page.

To get in touch with us directly, email

This case study was featured on page 43 of the  2017 Annual Science Review.

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