Published: 14 July 2015
Dr Chia Shi-Lu: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs what measures are in place to minimise combustible dust hazards for events including the Colour Run.
Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs whether the Home Team agencies have in place adequate rules and regulations to govern the use of coloured powder at large outdoor events.
1. Madam Speaker, with your permission, I will address Dr Chia Shi-Lu and Mr Ang Wei Neng's questions on the use of coloured powder at large outdoor events together.
2. A cloud of powdered substance such as corn flour could ignite, even though it is not considered a hazardous material when packed or stored properly and used in the way it was intended, such as for baking or cooking. Under the Fire Safety (Petroleum and Flammable Materials) Regulations, the import, transport and storage of substances which are highly flammable and beyond certain threshold quantities require SCDF licences. The holders of such SCDF licences are required to impose stringent safety measures with regard to the handling of such substances. However, this does not cover less combustible substances in powder form such as corn flour.
3. Police will assess all relevant factors, including public safety, before issuing police permits or public entertainment licences for events. If necessary, the Police may impose conditions to prohibit hazardous activities. The event may also be disallowed entirely if it is deemed to pose a threat to public safety. Events involving temporary structures, such as stages, will also require an SCDF permit. This will be issued only if sufficient fire safety measures are in place.
4. For events which are not regulated by the SPF or SCDF, the SCDF may still issue a Fire Hazard Abatement Notice under the Fire Safety Act, if they are aware of the existence of any potential fire hazard. A person served with such a notice will have to take steps to abate the fire hazard, such as ceasing the use of flammable materials. Should information be received by Police that a particular event may pose a threat to public safety, the Police will use all measures provided for in the law, including the seizure of items or stopping of the event, to prevent the commission of an offence.
5. The Colour Run event in Singapore will require a police permit and the post-run party will require a public entertainment licence. An SCDF permit is also needed for the erection of a stage at the post-run party. Both SCDF and SPF are in contact with the event organisers. The agencies will assess the hazards posed by the materials intended for use at the event, before granting the necessary approvals. Restrictions or additional safety measures may also be imposed to manage safety risks. This may include replacing combustible powder with non-combustible materials such as water mist, limiting the powder dispersal zone, disallowing sources of ignition within a certain radius, or prohibiting the discharge of powder at mass congregation areas such as the end point of the run.