14 January 2021
An old but important note on SAFETY by traffic gurus rang the start of 2021 for us as we look to a (hopefully) less bumpy ride this New Year.
The convergence of the engineering and legal professions on a panel, putting accident prevention and recourse in the right perspective, attracted close to 100 participants.
The first speaker was Mr Gopinath Menon, who has nearly 50 years of experience in urban traffic planning, construction and management, and was the Chief Transportation Engineer of Singapore from 1991 to 2001. He drove home the cardinal rules of the traffic and safety aspects of road diversions to minimise mishaps around construction sites.
As we will not be able to completely mitigate the risks around work and construction sites in spite of precautions taken, employers and contractors are often obligated to procure insurance. Mr Ho Chien Mien, a partner at Allen and Gledhill LLP, an Accredited Arbitrator and a Senior Accredited Specialist in Building and Construction Law, reminded however, that insurance cover though essential, could be a recourse for some but not all problems. He gave an insight into the different types of liabilities and the different circumstances under which insurance cover or do not cover. He also cited many examples and case laws to illustrate that where legal liability (which is not uncommon) arises, a lot of time and money is needed to resolve the issues, and the process often complicated. Hence, it is still best for us to heed the good old advice of "Prevention is better than cure".