Lifting Regulations and Requirements in Singapore for the Construction Industry

Written By: SCAL Academy

Date: 27 March 2024

Topic: WSH Compliance and Auditing

Table of contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Lifting Regulatory Framework

  3. Mandatory Requirements for Lifting Operations

  4. Lifting Plan and Risk Assessment

  5. Lifting Safe Work Procedures and Method Statements

  6. Lifting Permit-to-Work (PTW) System

  7. Lifting Roles and Responsibilities

  8. Lifting Competency and Training

  9. Lifting Emergency and Contingency Planning

  10. Lifting Equipment Maintenance and Certification

  11. Conclusion


In Singapore's ever-growing construction landscape, lifting operations involving heavy machinery and equipment are a common and essential part of daily activities. However, these operations are inherently high-risk and can lead to catastrophic consequences if not carried out safely and in compliance with regulatory requirements. Over the years, numerous incidents and accidents related to unsafe lifting practices have occurred, resulting in multiple fatalities, serious injuries, and extensive property damage.

To address this critical issue and ensure the safety of workers and the public, the Singapore government, through the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), has established a comprehensive set of regulations and guidelines for safe lifting operations in the construction industry.


Lifting Regulatory Framework

The primary legislation governing lifting operations in Singapore's construction industry is the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA). This Act imposes a duty on occupiers and employers to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of persons at work. Additionally, it imposes duties on suppliers and erectors of lifting equipment to ensure that the equipment is safe when used properly.

The WSHA is supported by several subsidiary legislations, including:


  1. Workplace Safety and Health (Construction) Regulations

  2. Workplace Safety and Health (Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing) Regulations

  3. Workplace Safety and Health (Operation of Cranes) Regulations


These regulations provide more prescriptive requirements for specific lifting operations involving tower cranes, mobile cranes, crawler cranes, and other lifting equipment commonly used in the construction industry.


Mandatory Requirements for Lifting Operations

Before commencing any lifting operation in the construction industry, it is mandatory to prepare the following documents:


  1. Lifting Plan supported by a Risk Assessment (RA)

  2. Safe Work Procedure or Method Statement

  3. Permit-to-Work (PTW)

  4. Other relevant documents (e.g., load chart, range diagram, rigging method)


Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalties and legal consequences for the responsible parties.


Lifting Plan and Risk Assessment

The Lifting Plan, coupled with a detailed Risk Assessment (RA), forms the backbone of safety and operational integrity for any lifting operation. These documents ensure that every aspect of the operation is meticulously planned and evaluated for potential risks, with strategies in place to mitigate those risks effectively.


Lifting Plan

The Lifting Plan is not just a document; it's a blueprint for action that guides the entire lifting operation from start to finish. Its development is critical for ensuring that every phase of the lift is executed safely and efficiently. Essential elements of a Lifting Plan include:


  • Load Details: Provides a thorough description of the load, including its weight, dimensions, and center of gravity. This ensures the selection of the appropriate lifting gear and method.

  • Lifting Equipment and Gears: Lists all equipment and gear to be used, including their types, capacities, and certifications. This confirms the suitability and safety of the equipment for the operation.

  • Lifting Crew: Outlines the roles, responsibilities, and competencies of each crew member, ensuring that all involved are qualified, aware of their duties, and prepared to execute them safely.

  • Lifting Method: Describes the rigging arrangements and the sequence of operations. This section ensures that the lifting process is planned in a way that minimizes risks and enhances efficiency.

  • Erecting/Dismantling Requirements: Specifies the procedures for setting up and taking down lifting equipment, if necessary, ensuring these actions are performed safely.

  • Communication Means: Defines how crew members will communicate during the operation, ensuring clear, uninterrupted coordination.

  • Physical and Environmental Conditions: Assesses ground conditions, potential obstacles, lighting, and the need for demarcation. This evaluation helps in anticipating and mitigating environmental risks.

  • Lifting Zone Sketch: Provides a visual layout of the lifting area, showing the positions of equipment, personnel, and the load. This aids in planning and prevents operational hazards.

  • Special Precautions and Additional Information: Notes any unique concerns or extra measures needed to ensure safety, catering to the specific challenges of the operation.


Risk Assessment

The Risk Assessment (RA) is a systematic process aimed at identifying potential hazards that could arise during the lifting operation. It evaluates the likelihood and severity of risks and proposes control measures to mitigate or eliminate them. Key components of a comprehensive RA include:


  • Hazard Identification: Recognizes potential hazards associated with the lifting operation, from equipment failure to environmental conditions.

  • Risk Evaluation: Assesses the potential impact of identified hazards on the safety of personnel and the operation. This includes evaluating the likelihood of each risk occurring and the severity of its potential consequences.

  • Control Measures Implementation: Based on the risk evaluation, appropriate control measures are determined and implemented to mitigate identified risks. This could range from engineering controls to administrative strategies, such as training and supervision.

  • Documentation and Review: The RA process and its findings are thoroughly documented. This record is periodically reviewed and updated to reflect changes in operations, equipment, or working conditions, ensuring the RA remains relevant and effective.


The integration of a detailed Lifting Plan with a comprehensive Risk Assessment ensures that every lifting operation is underpinned by a robust safety and planning framework. This approach not only minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries but also contributes to the efficiency and success of the operation, reinforcing a culture of safety and responsibility within the workplace.


Lifting Safe Work Procedures and Method Statements

The Safe Work Procedure or Method Statement, highlighted in the "Code of Practice on Safe Lifting Operations in the Workplaces," is pivotal for ensuring the safety and efficiency of lifting operations. Here's a condensed overview of its crucial aspects:

Purpose and Development: Developed prior to lifting operations, it specifies steps and safety measures based on thorough risk assessments, aiming to identify and mitigate potential hazards.


Core Components of a Safe Work Procedure:


  • Detailed Guidelines: Describes the lifting operation, involved equipment and personnel, and the sequence of actions.

  • Safety Measures: Outlines specific safety protocols, emergency procedures, and necessary precautions.

  • Communication and Training: Ensures that everyone from crane operators to riggers is informed about the procedures and understands the implemented safety measures through training and briefings.

  • Review and Approval Process: Subjected to scrutiny and approval by competent authorities (e.g., lifting supervisors, safety officers) to confirm its comprehensiveness and compliance with safety standards.

  • Adaptability: Flexible to updates or modifications in response to changes in the work environment, new equipment, or post-incident insights.

  • Documentation: Acts as an official record for reference in case of incidents or future planning, demonstrating compliance with safety regulations.


In summary, the Safe Work Procedure or Method Statement is a critical planning and operational tool that prioritizes safety in every step of the lifting process.


Lifting Permit-to-Work (PTW) System

The Permit-to-Work (PTW) system is a critical safety mechanism designed to ensure rigorous control over high-risk lifting operations, as mandated by the Workplace Safety and Health (Operation of Cranes) Regulations. Its primary aim is to formalize the process of assessing, authorizing, and managing hazardous tasks to ensure that they are carried out safely and systematically. This system is especially pertinent for operations involving tower cranes, mobile cranes, and crawler cranes within construction environments, where the potential for accidents is significant.


Core Elements of the PTW System:


Application and Scope Definition

  • Initial Application: Contractors planning to undertake lifting operations are required to apply for a PTW, detailing the specific tasks, the types of cranes to be used, and the operational parameters.

  • Scope of Work: This includes a comprehensive description of the Pre-Lift Inspection of Cranes, lifting operation, identifying the load, the lifting gear, the personnel involved, and the sequence of activities.


Risk Assessment and Control Measures

  • Hazard Identification: Before issuing a PTW, a thorough risk assessment must be conducted to identify potential hazards associated with the proposed lifting operations.

  • Implementing Control Measures: Based on the risk assessment, appropriate safety measures are established to mitigate identified risks. This could involve specifying safety gear, delineating the lifting area, or enforcing specific operational protocols.


Independent Inspection

  • Verification: An independent inspection by a qualified person is crucial to ascertain that all stated control measures are in place and that the site is prepared for the lifting operation to commence safely.

  • Documentation: The inspection findings are documented, providing an additional layer of safety verification before the work proceeds.


Authorization and Oversight

  • Approval: A PTW is only issued after the application, risk assessment, and site inspection have been satisfactorily completed. The permit is signed off by an authorized person, typically a safety manager or site supervisor with the authority to approve such operations.

  • Continuous Supervision: Even after the PTW is granted, ongoing supervision is essential to ensure adherence to the stipulated safety measures throughout the operation.


Importance of the PTW System

The PTW system serves several critical functions in promoting workplace safety during lifting operations:


  • Structured Safety Protocol: It creates a structured framework for assessing and managing the risks associated with lifting operations, ensuring that safety is not an afterthought.

  • Communication and Coordination: Through the application and approval process, it facilitates clear communication between all parties involved in the lifting operation, ensuring everyone is aligned with the safety requirements.

  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to the PTW system helps organizations comply with local safety regulations, reducing the risk of legal implications in the event of an accident.

  • Preventive Approach: By requiring a detailed assessment of the operation and its risks before commencement, the PTW system embodies a proactive approach to preventing accidents and injuries.


In essence, the Permit-to-Work system is a cornerstone of safety management in construction lifting operations, ensuring that every aspect of the operation is scrutinized for potential hazards and controlled appropriately. Its rigorous application underscores the commitment of contractors and site managers to safeguarding the lives of workers and the integrity of the workplace.


Lifting Roles and Responsibilities

The regulations also outline the roles and responsibilities of various parties involved in lifting operations, including:


1. Contractor/Responsible Person

  • Duty: Acts as the cornerstone of safety for the lifting operation. Responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the lifting operation comply with safety regulations and standards.

  • Responsibilities:

    • Ensuring a safe system of work is implemented.

    • Identifying and mitigating risks through comprehensive risk assessments and lifting plans.

    • Providing adequate resources, including qualified personnel and suitable lifting equipment.

    • Ensuring that all personnel involved are adequately trained and informed of their roles and the operation's specifics.


2. Lifting Supervisor

  • Duty: Oversees the lifting operation on the ground, ensuring that the lifting plan is followed precisely.

  • Responsibilities:

    • Coordinating the lifting team and ensuring compliance with the lifting plan.

    • Conducting or supervising the risk assessment for the lifting operation.

    • Ensuring the  safety of the lifting area, including the proper setup and stability of the lifting equipment.

    • Acting as the communication hub among all parties involved in the lifting operation.


3. Lifting Equipment Operator (e.g., Crane Operator)

  • Duty: Directly responsible for operating the lifting equipment safely and efficiently.

  • Responsibilities:

    • Conducting pre-use checks to ensure the equipment is in good working condition.

    • Operating the equipment within its safe working load limits and according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

    • Following signals from the signalmen to maneuver the load safely to its destination.

    • Reporting any equipment malfunctions or safety concerns immediately to the lifting supervisor.


4. Signalmen

  • Duty: Facilitates communication between the lifting equipment operator and the ground team, especially in situations where the operator’s view may be obstructed.

  • Responsibilities:

    • Providing clear and precise signals to the lifting equipment operator, ensuring the safe maneuvering of the load.

    • Monitoring the lifting area for any potential hazards and communicating these to the lifting team.

    • Assisting in the coordination of the lifting operation to prevent any accidents or near-misses.


5. Riggers

  • Duty: Specializes in the setup and preparation of the load for lifting, ensuring it is securely fastened and balanced.

  • Responsibilities:

    • Selecting the appropriate lifting gear and rigging equipment based on the load's weight, size, and center of gravity.

    • Properly securing the load to prevent shifting or slipping during the lift.

    • Inspecting all rigging equipment before and after the lift for any signs of damage or wear.

    • Working closely with the lifting supervisor to ensure the lifting plan is adhered to regarding the load's rigging and positioning.


Each of these roles is integral to the safe and successful completion of lifting operations. By delineating clear responsibilities and ensuring that all parties are adequately trained and competent, the risk of accidents can be significantly minimized, promoting a culture of safety and responsibility on the worksite.

Each party has specific duties and responsibilities to ensure the safe execution of lifting operations, such as supervising the operation, conducting pre-use checks, rigging the load correctly, and maintaining communication throughout the lift.


Lifting Competency and Training

Competency and Training are pivotal in ensuring that all personnel involved in lifting operations possess the requisite knowledge, skills, and understanding to perform their tasks safely and efficiently. Tailored training programs like the Supervise Safe Lifting Operations (SSLO) and Perform Rigger and Signalman Tasks (PRST) by SCAL Academy are instrumental in achieving these competencies.


Supervise Safe Lifting Operations (SSLO)

The SSLO course is specifically designed for individuals who will be taking on the role of a lifting supervisor. The core focus of this training is to ensure supervisors are well-versed in the planning and execution aspects of lifting operations, emphasizing safety and regulatory compliance.


  • Objectives:

    • Equip participants with an understanding of legal obligations and safety regulations related to lifting operations.

    • Provide knowledge on creating and implementing effective Lifting Plans.

    • Enhance skills in supervising lifting teams, ensuring compliance with safety standards.

    • Teach how to conduct risk assessments for lifting operations and implement necessary control measures.


  • Key Components:

    • Overview of lifting equipment types and their applications.

    • Detailed instructions on rigging techniques and load integrity.

    • Communication strategies for effective coordination among lifting teams.

    • Emergency response planning and accident prevention techniques.


Perform Rigger and Signalman Tasks (PRST)

The PRST course is designed for individuals responsible for rigging loads and signaling crane operators. It focuses on the practical and theoretical aspects necessary for safe and efficient load handling and crane operation communication.


  • Objectives:

    • Provide foundational knowledge of different types of lifting gears and accessories.

    • Teach correct methods of rigging and ensuring load security.

    • Train in the use of standard hand signals and electronic communication methods for guiding crane operators.

    • Instruct on conducting pre-operation checks for rigging equipment and identifying potential hazards.


  • Key Components:

    • Basic principles of lifting and rigging, including calculating load weight and balance.

    • Hands-on training in using slings, shackles, and other rigging accessories.

    • Safety protocols for load attachment and movement.

    • Techniques for clear and effective signaling in various operational scenarios.


By undergoing SSLO and PRST courses, supervisors, riggers, and signalmen become pivotal in preventing accidents, minimizing risks, and promoting a culture of safety on the worksite.

Such structured training programs are essential for maintaining high safety standards in lifting operations, helping organizations comply with regulatory requirements, and ensuring the well-being of all involved personnel.


Lifting Emergency and Contingency Planning

Emergency and Contingency Planning is a fundamental aspect of managing lifting operations within the construction industry, ensuring that all personnel are prepared to respond effectively in the event of an emergency. This planning encompasses a comprehensive Emergency Response Procedure (ERP) that is meticulously crafted to address various emergency scenarios, potentially saving lives and minimizing property damage.


Key Elements of Emergency and Contingency Planning are as follows:


Documented Emergency Response Procedure (ERP)

  • Comprehensive Coverage: The ERP should encompass a wide array of potential emergencies, including but not limited to equipment failure, fire, structural collapse, and severe weather conditions. It must articulate clear, actionable steps for each scenario.

  • Emergency Contact Details: A critical component of the ERP is a list of all emergency contacts, including internal emergency response teams, local emergency services (fire, medical, police), and key personnel within the organization.

  • Roles and Responsibilities: The ERP must clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the emergency management team, outlining who is responsible for what actions during an emergency. This clarity is crucial for a coordinated response.


Procedures for Managing Injured Personnel

  • Immediate Response: Detailed procedures for providing immediate assistance to injured personnel, including first aid and emergency medical services, should be outlined. This includes the location of first aid kits and how to evacuate injured persons safely.

  • Evacuation Plan: The ERP should include a well-defined evacuation plan, highlighting emergency exits, assembly points, and headcount procedures to ensure all personnel are accounted for.


Emergency Drills and Exercises

  • Regular Drills: To ensure that all personnel are familiar with the emergency procedures, regular drills and exercises should be conducted. These drills help identify any gaps in the ERP and provide an opportunity for practice and improvement.

  • Frequency and Documentation: The frequency of these drills should be determined based on the complexity of the lifting operations and the potential risks involved. All drills and exercises should be documented, including observations and any corrective actions taken.


Continual Review and Improvement

  • Regular Updates: The ERP is not a static document but should be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in operations, equipment, personnel, or external conditions (e.g., new construction technologies or changes in emergency services).

  • Feedback Loop: Incorporating feedback from drills, actual emergencies, and changes in best practices is essential for continually improving the ERP. This iterative process ensures the emergency response strategy remains effective and relevant.


In summary, Emergency and Contingency Planning, embodied in a detailed and practiced ERP, is a critical safety net for lifting operations in the construction industry. It ensures that when emergencies occur, the response is swift, coordinated, and effective, thereby safeguarding lives and assets.


Lifting Equipment Maintenance and Certification

Equipment Maintenance and Certification are pivotal components of ensuring the safety and reliability of lifting equipment in construction operations. These practices are mandated by regulations to prevent equipment failure that could result in accidents, injuries, or even fatalities. Here’s an expanded view on the importance of these requirements and how they are implemented:


Regular Maintenance and Inspections

  • Scheduled Maintenance: Lifting equipment requires regular maintenance to keep it in optimal working condition. This includes routine checks, lubrication, adjustments, and replacements of worn or damaged parts.

  • Competent Personnel: Maintenance and inspections must be carried out by individuals who are specifically trained and competent in the technical and safety aspects of the lifting equipment. This ensures that the equipment is not only functional but also complies with safety standards.

  • Maintenance Records: Keeping detailed records of all maintenance activities is crucial. These records provide a history of the equipment's condition, maintenance performed, and any repairs or replacements. They are essential for tracking the equipment’s health over time and can be critical in the event of an accident investigation.


Inspections by Competent Persons

  • Pre-use Checks: Before each use, a competent person should inspect the lifting equipment to ensure it is safe for operation. This includes checking for visible defects, ensuring all safety devices are functional, and verifying that the equipment is set up correctly.

  • Periodic In-depth Inspections: Beyond daily checks, lifting equipment should undergo more thorough inspections at regular intervals as defined by regulatory requirements or manufacturers' recommendations. These inspections are more comprehensive and aim to identify potential issues that might not be apparent during routine use.


Certification by an Authorized Examiner

  • Lifting Machine (LM) Certificates: Lifting equipment must have a valid LM certificate issued by an Authorized Examiner. This certification process involves a detailed examination of the equipment’s condition and its compliance with safety standards.

  • Authorized Examiner: An Authorized Examiner is a person or entity recognized by regulatory authorities as qualified to inspect and certify lifting equipment. This examiner evaluates the equipment against established safety criteria and issues LM certificates if the equipment meets those standards.

  • Validity and Renewal: LM certificates have a validity period after which they must be renewed. The renewal process requires a new inspection by an Authorized Examiner to ensure the equipment continues to meet safety standards. The frequency of renewal is typically specified by regulations or standards.


In essence, Equipment Maintenance and Certification are not merely regulatory requirements but fundamental practices that ensure the safety, reliability, and efficiency of lifting operations in the construction industry. These practices demonstrate a commitment to upholding the highest safety standards and protecting all stakeholders involved in construction activities.



Singapore's construction industry, with its reliance on heavy lifting operations, is underpinned by rigorous safety regulations enforced by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). These regulations, centered around the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA) and its subsidiary legislations, establish a comprehensive safety framework that mandates meticulous planning, competent execution, and strict adherence to safety protocols for all lifting operations.

Key components such as the Lifting Plan, Risk Assessment, and Permit-to-Work system underscore the emphasis on proactive risk management and safety. The focus on Competency and Training ensures that personnel involved in lifting operations are well-prepared, enhancing the safety and efficiency of these activities. Moreover, protocols for Equipment Maintenance and Certification guarantee the operational integrity of lifting equipment, contributing to the overall safety of construction sites.

Emergency and Contingency Planning further solidifies this framework, equipping personnel to effectively respond to emergencies and maintain resilience in the face of unforeseen challenges.

In summary, Singapore's strategic approach to lifting operations safety combines legislative rigor with practical measures, setting high safety benchmarks for the construction industry. This balance between growth and safety serves as a model for maintaining high safety standards while fostering industry advancement.

Course Duration

0.0 Day Course

  • Training Hours – 0.0 hours

Medium Of Instruction

  • English

Funding Information

Funding eligible for both Supervise Safe Lifting Operations (SSLO) and Perform Rigger and Signalman Tasks (PRST).

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Mr Daniel at 67939020 or email

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