Archive for the ‘Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’ Category

CIDB to look at 3 main aspects in SUKE incident

Thursday, September 24th, 2020
The Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) will investigate three main aspects regarding the incident in which a parapet wall slab from the ongoing Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) construction fell and hit a car, on Saturday. - Photo by FATHIL ASRI/NSTPThe Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) will investigate three main aspects regarding the incident in which a parapet wall slab from the ongoing Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) construction fell and hit a car, on Saturday. – Photo by FATHIL ASRI/NSTP

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) will investigate three main aspects regarding the incident in which a parapet wall slab from the ongoing Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) construction fell and hit a car, on Saturday.

CIDB chief executive officer Datuk Ir Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid said the three aspects comprised the construction method, quality of building materials as well as skills and accreditation of skilled workers involved.

“An investigation paper has been opened under Section 34B and 34C of Act 520 (CIDB Act) pertaining to the contractor’s duty in ensuring the safety of buildings and construction works either during or after construction is carried out.

“If convicted, the contractor can be fined not exceeding RM500,000. Other parties such as the owner of the project (client) and the consulting firm can also be prosecuted if found guilty,” he said in a statement today.

Last Saturday, a one-sq metre concrete slab from a construction site of SUKE fell on a Proton Saga BLM driven by a woman at the Middle Ring Road 2 at about 5.45 pm.

The 25-year-old victim was however rescued by members of the public with injuries on her left arm before she was sent to Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM.

by Bernama.

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Niosh to expand free skills training for B40 in Sabah

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) will expand the implementation of free skills training proramme for the lowest household group (B40) in Sabah and Sarawak next year.

Its chairman Alice Lau Kiong Yieng said the agency would be targeting 250 participants in each of the states for the programme which would involve full time and part time training.

She said the training would take over a month and the participants would be provided with free accommodation, food and an allowance.

According to Lau, the programme would be in co-operation with Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad to help the B40 group find employment after completing their training.

For the participants, involving those who were already employed and who would be joining the programme on a part time basis, it would be to boost their skills to enable them to gain promotions in their place of work, she told reporters during a dinner organised by Niosh here, last night.

Lau said the pioneer programme had been implemented at the Niosh headquarters in Kuala Lumpur which was participated by 50 people this year and 33 of them had also found employments.

She said the challenge faced by Niosh in implementing the programme would be in ensuring the participants taking part in the programme on a full-time basis found jobs after completing the training.

‘’Other than a pay increase, the workers with high work skills will have the opportunity for promotions and unemployment problems can be overcome,’’ she said.

As such, she said, Niosh needed the co-operation of the industry to provide job opportunities and to ensure the implementation of the programme would meet its target.

by Bernama.

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More schools declared unsafe

Friday, June 21st, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is racing against time to repair 587 dilapidated schools as more schools have been declared unsafe.

It is seeking urgent allocation from the federal government to repair the ‘breaking-down’ schools. Minister of Education and Innovation Datuk Dr. Yusof Yacob said he has discussed with the Ministry of Finance to solve the issue, estimating that a total RM3 billion is required to repair all dilapidated schools.

For the time being, he said the government has received RM78 million allocation to repair 15 critical schools which are in the process of designing, among others.

“We will not stop here, there will be 75 schools which will follow and we are working very hard to solve this.

“For now, we have identified (critical schools) and works will be done according to priority including the school’s severity, land approval and such,” he said.

He added that the federal government had also approved RM6 million for maintenance and small repairs with another RM12 million for the same purpose to come.

He explained that the increased number of schools classified as unsafe from only 69 early this year was due to monthly auditing from the Public Works Department.

“We hope to solve this in any way possible within the near future; we cannot wait until these schools collapse, we need to find solution.

“We seek understanding from education officers and the people that we are not keeping silent and we are taking action to solve this issue.

“We are very concerned about the education system and infrastructure; we hope we will be able to change our landscape of infrastructure in our State’s education,” he said.

Meanwhile, he noted that illiteracy among students particularly in rural districts still exists even upon entering secondary schools.

He said while the number is low, it is enough to raise concern with various factors contributing to the matter including late registration to schools.

“It shouldn’t happen in today’s modern world though we admit that even in some developing countries, illiteracy still exists among the citizens but we don’t want to look into that; we want to model developed countries like Singapore, Finland and Japan where their citizens are literate,” he added.

Dr Yusof said that students should also be provided with early exposure on how to create jobs instead of searching for one, by becoming entrepreneurs which he described as the new direction in today’s digital era.

He was speaking during the Kota Kinabalu Education Office 2018 Excellent Service Award (APC), Teacher’s Day, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Kaamatan celebration here on Thursday.

Earlier, Dr. Yusof presented certificates to 373 recipients of KK District Education Office 2018 APC, Special Awards and the 2019 Tokoh Guru award.

Urging teachers to remain creative in their approaches, he highlighted the importance of English proficiency, exposure to entrepreneurship, and morality among students.

He reminded teachers to modify their teaching methods, adding that students need to also be informed of today’s Industrial Revolution needs.

“I went on a visit to SMK Banggi recently and asked the students what they want to be; most of them want to become policemen, firemen and teachers.

“None of them want to become entrepreneurs which show that they are not aware of what is needed in today’s world.

“We want our youth to become job creators, not job seekers,” he reiterated.

He asserted that the government is committed in attaining autonomy in education, and that it has provided full scholarships to students with excellent academic results to study in top international universities.


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Help the vulnerable, not irresponsible netizens

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The incident where a teenager allegedly committed suicide after an online poll favoured her death can be likened to a situation where an irresponsible crowd chanting ‘jump’ when they see a suicidal person on the edge of a rooftop or a balcony of a tall building, said the patron of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA) Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

In the cyber realm, the crowd’s actions could also be considered as cyberbullying as the majority of pollsters had motivated the victim to end her life, he said.

Those who have pre-existing emotional problems were more vulnerable as they could be easily swayed or affected by social media postings, hence it is important to identify and help them right from the early stage.

“This could be done if we are more sensitive when reading the postings they make on social media,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

Therefore, he said family members, relatives and friends should help identify the victims and help them instead of becoming irresponsible netizens who add insult to injury.

“We can also refer them to a doctor or trained counsellor if their problems are hard to solve or prolonged. Malaysia is now having more young adults stressed out or experiencing symptoms of stress-related illnesses such as anxiety or depression due to life experiences or environmental factors,” he said.

Lee said this in response to the incident where a 16-year-old girl from Padawan, Sarawak, committed suicide on Tuesday hours after posting an online poll on social media seeking a choice between life and death. Up to 69 per cent of the respondents had opted for ‘D’ for death while only 31 per cent chose ‘L’ or life.

He added mental immaturity might cause these young adults to be easily influenced by the online content including violent games and the negative opinions, peer pressure and cyberbullying on social media.

The National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015 showed that about 4.2 million Malaysians aged 16 and above or 29.2 per cent of the country’s population suffered from various mental problems, an increase of 11.2 per cent compared to 2006.

“More worryingly, the problem also involved students because the ratio of students who had mental problems has increased from one in every 10 students in 2011 to one in every five in 2016. Technology advancement and better internet access have enabled the virtual world to be explored by more Malaysians, including youths and children.


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Be proactive and ensure safety at all children’s playgrounds, Lee urges local authorities.

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

PETALING JAYA: There is an urgent need for all local authorities to be proactive and adopt an accident-prevention culture to help ensure the safety of children’s playgrounds under their jurisdiction, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

The social activist said the authorities should not wait until someone, especially a child, was injured before taking action.

“We should not forget the freak accident on Nov 24, 2018, where a 15-year-old girl died when her head was trapped on a swing for disabled and wheelchair users at a playground in Kepong.

“We must always be proactive and not reactive when dealing with any matter that can give rise to accidents or injuries due to negligence or poor maintenance,” he said in a statement on Sunday (May 12).

Although children’s playgrounds are supposed to be a safe place, safety issues have become a main concern where 530 cases of playground-related accidents were reported between 2014 and 2016, he added.

“Among others, it was reported that children were injured by broken playground equipment or when they fell due to uneven surfaces.

“Public Complaints Bureau has also revealed that the local authorities received 11,231 complaints regarding playgrounds between 2015 and 2016,” Lee said.

Recently, he said there have been calls for the Standards of Playground Safety Guidelines, which was introduced in 2017, to be made mandatory when planning, designing, building and managing playgrounds.

“Those involved in designing and constructing such facilities should also follow the specifications of certified playgrounds developed according to the new Malaysian Standards (MS) requirement, which will be unveiled soon.

“Four playgrounds are currently being assessed, improved and developed to comply with the MS 966 Playground equipment and MS 2665 Playground Surfacing,” he said.

Department of Standards Malaysia director-general Datuk Fadilah Baharin was also quoted as saying that the projects would encourage more local authorities to use MS 966 and MS 2665 as key references in the planning, development and maintenance of playgrounds, Lee added.

“Eventually, it would provide more factual and evidence-based outcomes to position playground safety as a national agenda in the future.

“The Street, Drainage & Building Act 1974 (Act 133) and Uniform Building Bylaw 1984 should also be amended so that the safety of playgrounds be included as an additional criteria for the issuance of the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC),” he suggested.

Lee also called for a thorough safety audit that should be done annually on all public playgrounds nationwide to help identify the problems on the ground and take necessary actions to avoid mishaps.

“Local authorities, with the help of agencies which have the expertise, should carry out the audit and engage certified playground safety inspectors (CPSI) to work with contractors in the installation and maintenance of playgrounds under their jurisdiction.

“The community, particularly parents, must also play their role to help ensure the safety of their children while on playgrounds.

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Technology help improves workplace safety

Sunday, May 5th, 2019
Employers and contractors who fail to provide a safe and healthy working environment for employees can be charged under Section 15 of OSHA 1994, which carries a maximum sentence of a RM50,000 fine, or two years’ jail, or both. – FILE PIC

EVERYONE must be committed to improving occupational safety and health (OSH), which is a fundamental human right.

The Social Security Organisation statistics show that the number of occupational accidents had increased by five per cent to 69,980 cases in 2017 compared with 66,618 the previous year. A total of 924 deaths were reported in 2017, with 257 of them industrial accidents and 667 commuting accidents.

Industrial accidents had increased by 3.84 per cent to 36,661 cases last year compared with 35,304 in 2016. Within five years (from 2013 to 2016), industrial accidents had increased by 2.12 per cent.

The Department of Occupational Safety and Health records show that accident rates at workplace per 1,000 workers had increased to 2.93 in 2017 compared with 2.88 in 2016 and 2.81 in 2015. In 2006, the rate was 4.77 accidents per 1,000 workers.

One of the sectors that we must focus on is the construction industry since the Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) revealed that the industry recorded 1.2 fatalities every two days and the rate seems to be increasing.

MBAM statistics show that the rate of fatalities in the construction industry per 100,000 workers has been increasing at an alarming rate. In 2014, the fatality rate was 7.26 per 100,000 workers, in 2015 (10.74), in 2016 (12.78) and in 2017 (14.94).

The Construction Industry Development Board has projected the local construction sector to grow this year despite uncertainties concerning mega infrastructure projects, intense competition and potential consolidation.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994, it is the duty of every employer
and self-employed person to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees.

It was reported that OSHA 1994 will be amended to enable construction site owners and architects to be held responsible for incidents at their sites. Now, only contractors are held responsible for accidents at construction sites.

Employers and contractors who fail to provide a safe and healthy working environment for employees can be charged under Section 15 of OSHA 1994, which carries a maximum sentence of a RM50,000 fine, or two years’ jail, or both.

It is the responsibility of employers to provide training and personal protective equipment.

Developers and construction companies must use technology such as drones to monitor construction sites.

At the 21st Conference and Exhibition on Occupational Safety and Health 2018, organised by NIOSH last year, participants learnt how the latest technology could protect employees more effectively.

Wireless technology, combined with software and gadgets such as drone and remote sensing gear, enables safety managers to monitor each worker and machine apart from assessing the real-time condition on the ground via their laptop or smartphone.

Developed countries use unmanned aerial vehicles to check accident sites and laser scanners for investigations that require three-dimension reconstruction of workplace accidents.


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These buildings must undergo yearly audit

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Higher learning institutions (IPTs) and their residential colleges, especially those whose buildings are 10 years or more, must conduct annual compulsory safety audits and implement an efficient occupational safety and health (OSH) management system to help prevent accidents, among others.

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) Chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, said scheduled safety audit and good maintenance culture is very important to help maintain safety at all times.

“We do not know the level of safety at residential colleges throughout the country as no comprehensive study has been made.

“It may be necessary to carry out safety audits at all these residential colleges in order to assess the level of safety so that all the weaknesses can be improved,” he said when delivering a keynote address at an OSH seminar for Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Residential Colleges, here, Tuesday.

Also present were UMS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni), Prof Dr Ismail Ali and UMS OSH Centre Director, Prof Dr Khamisah Awang Lukman.

According to Lee, several studies conducted at IPT residential colleges showed various weaknesses including the lack or absence of Emergency Response Plan (ERP), fire resistance door, fire extinguisher, assembly area and exit signboard.

“There are also residential colleges that do not conduct fire drills while OSH awareness is still low among their students,” he said.

He said a study published in the Community Health Journal 2011 showed the importance of conducting OSH audit to ensure that residential college management had implemented all relevant rules and standards.

“It is important for IPTs and their residential colleges to implement good OSH management system to ensure that the safety and health aspect at their premises is of high standard.

“Since the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Osha) 1994 makes its compulsory to maintain good OSH, Niosh wants the culture to be inculcated from school to university level,” he said.

He said focus should be given to the IPTs and their residential colleges since students will be in their vicinity for 24 hours a day.

Niosh supports UMS’ effort to obtain the ISO45001: 2018 certification, which is currently being processed, and hopes that the proactive measure would be emulated by other IPTs including those which already had the OHSAS 18001 certification.

He also reminded organisations with OHSAS 18001 certification that they were given until March 12, 2021 to migrate to ISO 45001. ISO 45001 is a global standard for OSH management system which was developed by experts from more than 70 countries.

It was developed based on other generic management systems such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, using risk-based approaches to ensure continued effectiveness and improvement.

By: Larry Ralon.

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Have safety and preventive measures in place

Thursday, March 28th, 2019
Initial reports stated that 2,775 people were affected by toxic fumes released from the illegal dumping of chemicals into Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang. – File pic

When we talk about industrial disasters, what comes to mind are the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy from a pesticide plant in Madhya Pradesh, India, and the 1954 Minamata mercury poisoning disaster in Japan.

We may have to add the recent poisoning in Pasir Gudang to the list.

In the Bhopal tragedy, toxic gas from a pesticide plant leaked from storage tanks in the middle of the night. By the next morning, more than 2,000 people in the vicinity were found dead and thousands more in the following days.

According to reports, faulty plant design and pipes, safety devices, poor maintenance of tanks, lax storage safety procedures and negligent staff were among the causes. Those who survived suffer from respiratory, neurological, gynecological, psychological, genetic and ocular issues. The Atlantic magazine states that it is the world’s worst industrial disaster, and after three decades, survivors are still fighting to have the site cleaned up.

In the Minamata disaster, mercury poisoning affected thousands of people who consumed seafood contaminated by methyl mercury in wastewater. Methyl mercury was released from a chemical factory in Minamata. The high level of mercury in marine products caused neurological disorders, and sensory and auditory disturbances in people who lived near the contaminated area. The industrial pollution also resulted in environmental degradation, marine pollution and affected fisheries. The effects impaired low socio-economic groups and fishermen.

And, now, in the 21st century, we have this grim case of industrial pollution in Pasir Gudang, Johor. Initial reports stated that 2,775 people were affected by toxic fumes released from the illegal dumping of chemicals into Sungai Kim Kim. More than 100 schools remain closed at the time of writing. About 1,250 tonnes of soil, water and sludge samples had been collected from the river. Earlier, it was reported that 15 types of chemicals, including hydrogen cyanide, were found in air samples taken from the surrounding areas.

Efforts are underway to prevent another wave of toxic pollution. But the question remains — how did the dumping of chemicals escape enforcement?

Illegal discharge of factory waste is not new and has been going on for years. Many other rivers and numerous sites throughout the country have been polluted by industrial waste. Surely, we do not want another episode of chemical pollution to go wrong before we realise that it is too late for recovery efforts.

The effects of past industrial disasters should serve as powerful reminders that people usually end up paying the price for the irresponsible and unscrupulous acts of the callous few. Effects of industrial disaster is widespread. The need to enforce environmental safety procedures and implement preventive strategies cannot be understated. Because for as long as enforcement is not stressed upon and procedures are not followed, pollution will continue and the lives of the public will be under threat.


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Occupational safety, health enforcement needs review

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
DOSH policy and responsibility is about providing and maintaining a quality, safe and healthy workplace and system. (File pic: For Illustration purposes only)

THE Association for Community and Dialogue is concerned about the high accident statistics provided by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

In 2017, 183 construction workers lost their lives at worksites. This translates to 14 fatalities for every 10,000 workers employed. As for accidents, DOSH states there were 42,513 throughout the country, giving an average of 116 daily (NST, Feb 17).

It is hoped that with amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 Act, proposed to be tabled in Parliament this month, DOSH’s strengths and weaknesses could be deliberated in Parliament with the objective of enhancing its enforcement capabilities.

DOSH policy and responsibility is about providing and maintaining a quality, safe and healthy workplace and system.

Employers must ensure all staff receive relevant information, directives, training and supervision on how to carry out tasks in a correct manner that poses no risks to health.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 Act was written for proactive action rather than when an incident has taken place. Has DOSH played its role effectively as a strong enforcement body? Does it have enough manpower? Does it play a critical role in monitoring critical public projects, or does it assume that contractors are competent in exercising their duties and hold them accountable only after a disaster takes place?

The statistics of 42,513 accidents daily demands DOSH accountability.

The Human Resources Ministry should review the current role of DOSH and evaluate its practice in line with its mandate.


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Technology boosts safety, health

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019
There is need to embrace technology to complement safety rules, which requires a paradigm shift in the mindset of owners, designers, employers and main contractors. – NSTP/ HAFIZ SOHAIMI

THE Association for Community and Dialogue, which is concerned about workers’ welfare, welcomes the proposed amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994 by the Human Resources Ministry. This comes in the wake of a number of fatal accidents in the construction sector.

Under the proposed amendments, the maximum fine for an offence, which is currently RM50,000, will be raised significantly.

Under the amendments, which are set to be tabled in March, project owners and designers, alongside employers and main contractors, will be held responsible for construction safety and health.

It is hoped that the new proposals, if adopted, will compel project owners, designers, employers and main contractors to work in a coordinated way in ensuring that safety rules are adhered to through work practices that set high safety standards.

While such amendments are positive, there are general missing links on safety standards that need to be addressed.

There is much focus on systems and penalties with less attention on human factors in safety and health.

As a safety officer for 10 years in the manufacturing sector, I have come across accidents that are not caused by system failure but by psychological and physiological stress.

For example, when I did an investigation on two veteran employees who lost part of their fingers in an accident involving machine rollers in a manufacturing plant, they told me that at the time of the accident, they were extremely stressed, tired and thirsty. Thus safety procedures were not on their minds.

These workers have been operating and repairing the machine for 20 years, and had clear knowledge of safety measures and yet, all this failed in this situation.

I have come across fatal injuries as a result of workers wanting to finish up as fast as possible, thus resorting to using inappropriate methods at work, which led to accidents.

Safety procedures, training and risk assessment will not resolve safety issues.

There is a need for technological devices such as sensors to detect the state of the physical body to signal risks.

In an article last month in the Time magazine on the best inventions of 2018, under the heading “New way to protect workers”, a worker at a grocery distribution facility in New York strapped a sensor onto his chest. As he lugged heavy packs around the warehouse, the devices tracked how he moved.

Eventually, it gauged that he was at risk of serious injury, in large part due to the amount of stress he was putting on his spine. So the worker met his manager, and together they came up with a solution: the worker was given a hook to help with lugging, so he wouldn’t have to bend over as much.

This shows how safety rules and measures, complemented by technological devices, are effective and preventive in monitoring physical movements that can lead to injuries.

These sensors can be used on workers in high-risk situations such in construction and manufacturing plants.

There is need to embrace technology to complement safety rules, which requires a paradigm shift in the mindset of owners, designers, employers and main contractors.


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