Just like any job, when hiring a maid, it is crucial to ensure a safe working environment. The cost of medical treatment and insurance is ultimately the responsibility of the employers, as well as the safety and well-being of the maids.
The Ministry of Manpower includes safety restrictions and suggestions in the guidelines of maid employment. During your maid’s orientation and on-the-job training, you should discuss this issue with her.
To ensure your maid understands how to do her tasks correctly and safely, you must monitor her from time to time, especially if she is working as a maid for the first time. It is employer’s responsibility to make sure that the workplace is as safe as possible, not only for your maid, but also for your children and your family.
Window cleaning and hanging laundry
In Singapore, a lot of families live in high-rise buildings, such as HDB flat and condominium. Therefore, this creates certain potential risks to the task, especially if the household windows are lack of bars.
Both employers and maids are required to sign safety agreements as part of employment contracts since 2012. The safety agreement is to assure that employers and maids are aware of the window cleaning regulations set forth by the ministry. The maid will receive the agreement in her native language as well.
The Ministry of Manpower advises maids to be extra cautious when hanging laundry from windows of high buildings.
- Maids should hang heavier clothes close to the bracket and keep both feet firmly planted on the floor.
- On windy or heavy rainy days, maids should be extra cautious when collecting the laundry.
- Maids must not lean out of windows or stand on chairs to reach the clothes outside or clean the windows.
Maids are only allowed to clean the exterior of windows in Singapore if they are supervised and the window grilles are locked. This issue has been taken seriously by the government. In the past, employers whose maids were made to clean windows in risky situations or climb and prune trees in the backyard have been fined. For example, there was a case in 2018 where an employer was fined $46,000 for allowing the maids to clean the windows of two-storey building on a scaffolding.
Fire and electrical safety
Most of the maids are from undeveloped regions of their own countries, therefore they are lack of experience in operating electrical appliances. Employers should instruct and demonstrate the way to use the electrical appliances safely and should alert them to any potential risks, such as touching plug-points or appliances with moist hands.
It is crucial to keep flammable substances away from flames and other sources of heat. Maids should be reminded not to leave stoves and other similar appliances unattended.
Personal and food hygiene
Maids should also be instructed to take hygiene seriously. Employers can either train their maids at home or send them for professionally-run training courses.
In Singapore, there are several cooking classes designed for maids which include food hygiene lessons. General hygiene around the kitchen and house are occasionally included in other training courses.
Plan in advance
Given the significance of this topic, household safety can be discussed during interview when recruiting a maid.
Employers can inquire candidates about training courses they attended, as well as their sense of hygiene and safety in the house.
Your maid will be more motivated and devoted to your family if you provide her a safe, fair and happy working environment where you strive to overcome cultural barriers and other difficulties.