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

Lee: Make personal flotation devices available at drowning hotspots.

Monday, August 27th, 2018

PETALING JAYA: Local council authorities must make personal flotation devices (PFDs) available at high-risk drowning locations, said Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

“The government should also make it mandatory for local governments to place PDFs at high-risk locations for emergencies and also on recreational vessels,” said the National Water Activity Safety Council (WASC) member in a statement on Sunday (Aug 26).

Lee’s call comes after three students drowned while taking a dip at Pantai Teluk Kalong, Kijal in Kemaman on Thursday (Aug 23).

“It is rather unfortunate that drowning deaths still occur although the National Water Activity Safety Council has ordered the Fire and Rescue Department to be on standby mode at all the high-risk areas during the ongoing school holidays,” he said.

Besides the PDFs, he said that the local authorities should adopt uniform water safety signages developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation known as ISO 20712-1:2008.

“Warning signs should be installed at strategic places to remind the public on the danger of drowning in high-risk areas while damaged or vandalised signages should be replaced immediately,” he added.

He said the Housing and Local Government Ministry, via the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia (JBPM), has since identified 12 hotspot locations nationwide as high-risk areas for drowning incidents.

The locations in Selangor are Sungai SKC Kampung Timah, Sungai Tinggi, Sungai Gasi in Sungai Buloh, Sungai Chiling in Kuala Kubu Baru, Sungai Sendat waterfalls in Ulu Yam and the Semenyih Dam.

Other high-risk areas are Sungai Kampung Batu Payung in Tawau, Sabah; Sungai Kampung Sabak in Pengkalan Chepa, Muara Tok Bali in Pasir Puteh and Pantai Nipah in Bachok, Kelantan, Lata Berembun waterfalls in Raub, Pahang; Chamang waterfalls in Bentong, Pahang and Teluk Bahang in Batu Feringghi, Penang.

As a precautionary measure, Lee suggested that schools must create awareness on drowning by inviting representatives from WASC or relevant agencies to give a briefing on its danger before school holidays begin.

By Martin Carvalho
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Lam Thye: More needed to ensure safety at road works’ sites.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

PETALING JAYA: More efforts must be done to implement necessary safety measures at road works’ sites, said Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman said the latest tragic accident involving Balakong assemblyman Eddie Ng on Friday could have been avoided if the contractor involved with road works had taken all the necessary safety measures at their work sites.

“My condolences to Ng’s family.

“Following his death at km11.7 of Grand Saga Highway, Cheras, the highway authorities have put up warning signs on road works being carried out,” he said when contacted on Sunday.

“Why wait till a tragedy occur and then taking steps to rectify the situation.  This is unacceptable,” he said.

Selangor Traffic Investigation and Enforcement department chief Supt Azman Shariat had said previously that the risk of road accidents has increased due to the lackadaisical attitude of contractors and workers who have not fully complied with safety guidelines and procedures during road maintenance works.

“I have been raising this subject over the years due to poor safety management of work sites during road maintenance works.

“Whenever road works are being carried out, contractors and workers concerned do not give much thought for public convenience and safety,” Lee said.

Lee said inadequate or poor warning signs and lighting especially at night has made it very hazardous or risky for road accidents.

“As a road user I also want to express my disappointment and dissatisfaction over the manner in which most contractors carry out road digging works and leave the road badly resurfaced after completing their works,” he said.

During the rainy season these work sites pose a danger to the public and accidents have occurred because of the lack of safety measures to warn motorists of the work in progress, he added.

Lee called on the relevant ministry to conduct a thorough review of all safety measures in respect of road construction or maintenance works to prevent more losses of innocent lives on roads.

By Farik Zolkepli
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ISO45001 – world’s first international standard for management system

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Companies have been advised to now go for ISO45001, which is the world’s first international standard for the management system when applying for the occupational health and safety management system (OHS MS) certification.

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said ISO45001 was the first OHS MScertificate issued by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) on March 12, 2018. ISO45001 is expected to replace the widely-used British Standard for Occupational Health and Safety management (OHSAS18001).

“With this new international standard, OHSAS18001 will be obsolete. For OHSAS18001 certified companies, they are given a 3-year period before March 12, 2021 to migrate to ISO45001,” he said after attending NIOSH Sabah Regional Office Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at a resort here yesterday.

Lee said NIOSH Certification Sdn Bhd, which is a subsidiary of NIOSH, also provided ISO45001 certification services and had organised seminars in Selangor, Johor and Sarawak.

A similar seminar will be held at Hotel Promenade Kota Kinabalu on July 5.

“NIOSH Certification is a certification body that has been accredited by the Department of Standards Malaysia.

“Among the services offered include OHSAS18001 and MS1722, ISO9001 Quality Management System, ISO14001 Environmental Management System, ISO22000 Food Safety Management System, and MS2530 Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO),” he said.

He said NIOSH Certification had also been approved by the Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council as a training centre for MSPO Auditors in June 2018.

“NIOSH Certification is willing to provide services and collaborate with plantation and mill owners and associations in the palm oil sector to obtain MSPO certification by the end of 2019 as targeted by the government,” he said.

According to him, the certification awarded by NIOSH Certification meets international standard and it had already opened an office in Kota Kinabalu on August 1, 2016 led by manager Muhammad Fadhil Abu Bakar.

“The regional office is responsible for promoting and providing the best service for customers in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Lee also announced that NIOSH would offer special incentives to institutions of higher learning and those who pursue the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme to get the safety and health officer (SHO) certificate from NIOSH.

He said NIOSH is also willing to form a strategic collaboration with any OSH association or organisation as its business partner to provide OSHtraining and consultancy services.


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We need to imbibe the maintenance culture

Sunday, July 1st, 2018
A poorly maintained eatery in Klang. Pix by Faiz Anuar

ONE of the many issues of public concern is how to develop a strong maintenance culture in Malaysia for safety and convenience.

Malaysia prides itself with having First World infrastructure, but not in terms of maintenance of the facilities.

Poor maintenance of public buildings and infrastructure can lead to accidents and injuries.

Public toilets that are not properly maintained can cause health problems.

Children’s playgrounds that are poorly maintained can result in accidents and injuries.

Roads and public drains that are not maintained can cause flash floods.

Potholes left unattended for weeks greatly inconvenience motorists.

Failure to prune tree branches and leaves that obstruct signs along highways and town roads inconvenience motorists and lead to road accidents.

The list goes on.

These unpleasant occurrences are a reflection of the Malaysian malaise clearly manifested in work of inferior quality, poor execution, inept management, poor maintenance and lack of ethics.

At stake is not only the question of ethics, but also the issue of safety and health at work.

The poor maintenance of buildings is an issue affecting health and safety at work.

The comment that Malaysia is a case of a country “having First World infrastructure but Third World mentality” is true when it comes to maintenance.

We are good at providing state-of-the-art buildings and equipment, but when it comes to maintaining and making them function properly, we have many shortcomings and weaknesses.

All authorities and every Malaysian must imbibe the culture of strong maintenance and make it a way of life.

The new administration must put an end to the poor and unsatisfactory maintenance of public amenities.

The time has come for the emergence of a new era that emphasises the development of a strong maintenance and safety culture.

Heads of department and agencies, as well as those from local authorities must go to the ground to make spot checks on the condition of buildings, roads and all other public amenities.

Improving a country’s image is not only the responsibility of the government, but also the duty of each citizen.

Despite Malaysia’s economic growth and progress, we have not succeeded in developing a civic-minded society. Indiscriminate littering is still common despite public campaigns.


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Safety for all

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018
Teachers and Saad (right) with the registration tag for the MOSH event.

Teachers and Saad (right) with the registration tag for the MOSH event.

THE Malaysian Society for Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) celebrated an Occupational, Safety and Health event throughout Malaysia.

They organised the largest safety briefing toolbox talks.

The aim of this event was to advise the workers about safety precautions that need to be applied at every company such as factories, shops, schools, hospitals, clinics and many more.

About 52, 490 participants took part in 800 different locations around the country.

This is listed in the Malaysia Book of Records and each company which took part will be listed too in conjunction with Labour Day.

The event was held from 8am until 11am throughout the country. The command centre was at Universiti Teknologi Mara in Shah Alam.

SMK (P) Bukit Kuda Klang took the opportunity to take part. It was organised by the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) including its president Saad Ismail, committee member Dr Mimita Magendra and school principal Rubiah Hayat.

The teachers, clerks, laboratory assistants and guards also took part as they are the people most at risk of injury while in school. The students were not involved as they are well taken care off.

The World OSH Day celebration was initially celebrated in April 2003 for the first time by the International Labour Organisation.

Each participant was given a tagging number by MOSH. The number was to be held by them and a photo was required to be taken as a group.

The school would be listed in the Malaysia Book of Records and receive a certificate.

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Need to enhance safety & health at work sites

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: A surprise inspection conducted by the Department of Safety and Health Sabah (DOSH) on a construction site at Inanam resulted in the contractor being cited for 14 violations.

The inspection was part of ‘Ops Cegah Jatuh’ which was held simultaneously nationwide.

DOSH Assistant Director, Mohd Khairof Bin Abd Raop, said the focus of the construction safety inspections was on high risk activities at construction sites such as lifting and working at heights, while ensuring employers’ commitment to workers’ safety and welfare.

“Safety is always first priority in construction sites; working at heights and lifting loads pose a lot of risks to workers, public safety and properties,” he told reporters yesterday.

He noted the number of workplace accidents involved 6,215 cases in 2017 which also included 187 fatalities. The ‘Ops Cegah Jatuh’ operation was spearheaded by JKKP Malaysia Director-General Omar Bin Mat Piah and carried out at 70 construction sites nationwide.

State DOSH Enforcement officers issued 12 warning notices and two notices for improvement during the operation at the construction site which saw various offences which includes exposed ledges, unsecured shafts in floors, unsafe work procedures and workers not wearing personal protection equipment such as goggles and helmets.

“Construction project contractors need to improve occupational safety for the health and safety of employees at the worksite, by making the necessary corrective measures to meet the safety standards set by the department,” said Mohd Khairof.

Furthermore, he noted the notices serve as a reminder and to educate employers on their responsibility in providing a safe workplace for workers.

“Risk control measures needs to be implemented in accordance to the law, proper industry practices and standards set by DOSH,” he said, highlighting officers can take action if measures are unsatisfactory which includes issuing stop work orders, fines and prosecution. Contractors who fail to adhere to improvement and warning notices issued by the department are liable for a maximum fine of RM50,000 under Section 49 of the Occupational Safety Act (1994)


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Lee sees media safety from NIOSH perspective

Monday, May 7th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Media must not only be free, but media practitioners must be adequately protected by law and suitable gear. In a message issued in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the chairman of National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said media organisations should not wait for any incident to happen before adopting the safe work practices under the Guideline for Media Professionals.

His full message: “Today, May 3, we celebrate the World Press Freedom Day, which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993. The date was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of Windhoek Declaration, which is a statement of press freedom principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.

The Declaration was produced at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) seminar in Windhoek, Namibia in 1991 before it was later endorsed by the UNESCO General Conference.

On 3rd of May every year we observe and celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom. It is also a date for us to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

As the chairman of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is under the Human Resources Ministry, I believe that we must acknowledge the difficult challenges that are facing media professionals, particularly those who may also lose their limbs or lives in the line of duty.

While the theme of the 2018 celebration, “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law”, highlights the importance of an independent judiciary in ensuring press freedom, we must never forget that media professionals are also exposed to serious occupational risks and hazards around the world.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, at least 81 reporters lost their lives in the line of duty in 2017 while another 262 journalists were imprisoned for doing their jobs in the same year.

After the incident that killed a Bernama TV cameraman in 2011 in Somalia, NIOSH provided some input to help the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) publish the comprehensive guidelines on safety for media professionals.

In the tragic incident, Noramfaizul Mohd Nor was killed by stray bullets while covering a humanitarian aid mission in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Sept 2, 2011.

Unfortunately, after the fatal incident we could still see media professionals being sent to risky and dangerous assignments without suitable protective gear or knowledge on the risks that they would face.

Among the cases that have raised our concern was when reporters, photographers and cameramen were exposed to the poisonous VX chemical when covering the murder of a high-profile person from North Korea. It should be an eye opener to media organisations on the lack of protection given to their staff.

Media personnel could also be exposed to diseases and other environmental threats when covering natural calamities and major outbreaks while those sent to war zones and conflict areas might be injured or killed.

Media organisations should not wait for any incident to happen before adopting the safe work practices under the Guideline for Media Professionals.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, it’s compulsory for employers to provide safe and healthy working environment for their workers.

I had raised this issue during a meeting with Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak in May last year and he had agreed to give his full support to NIOSH to organise the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) for Media programme on Aug 10, last year.

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Making schools safe

Sunday, February 25th, 2018
Safety experts have repeatedly reminded us that accidents do not just happen, they are caused. NSTP FILE PIC
By NST - February 15, 2018 @ 10:01am

NUR Afini Roslan of SMK Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Gemas, Negri Sembilan died under very tragic circumstances. Gruesome is perhaps the right diction. A blade came loose from a ride-on lawnmower and struck the 14-year-old’s head, slicing open part of her skull. She died at the scene of the accident. Two other students were injured.

This gruesome tragedy brings to the forefront, again, the need for schools to adopt good safety procedures. Safety experts have repeatedly reminded us that accidents do not just happen, they are caused. The Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) webpage of the International Association of Drilling Contractors puts it thus: somebody or several somebodies cause accidents.

We agree.

When we look for the cause of an accident, we will eventually find out that somebody, somewhere slipped up. The lawnmower accident in the Gemas school is no different. Many questions will need to be answered, chief among them are: why was the ride-on lawnmower on the field when students were there? If the contractor was given clearance to mow the lawn, why were the students allowed on the field? Was the run-on lawnmower well-maintained? Did the contractor have a good safety track record? We do not want to put the cart before the horse, but answers to these and other related questions must go to form the lessons-learned safety report. The past is a good teacher, but we must not allow a flawed past to design our future. Otherwise, we will repeatedly repeat history.

This notwithstanding, lessons from a single accident does not emplace a safety culture in schools. Or any other institutions for that matter. Culture must perforce be inculcated on a daily basis by a planned and systematic approach. To signal the importance of safety in the school environment, it must be led by the principal. Like the chief executive officer does in the corporate world, so must the principal. The school is, after all, a workplace of sorts. The principal can, of course, be assisted by a safety officer. Such an officer can assess all the significant risks in the school and customise safety measures to blunt them.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) is at hand to help, too. It has been running an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in School programme in collaboration with the Human Resources Ministry and the Education Ministry since 2015. Sadly, only 50 schools have participated in the programme thus far.


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Tawau school destroyed in fire

Sunday, February 25th, 2018
Tawau: A total of 139 pupils, 23 teachers and three staff of SK Sentosa at Mile 4, Jalan Apas, here, lost their school when its two wooden buildings were destroyed in a fire at about 12.15pm on Friday.

The school, built 17 years ago, was the first to be destroyed by fire this year.

The school’s administrative assistant, Rosdiana Malla, said she was resting in the mini hall when she was awakened by a secondary school student informing her of a fire in the school compound.

“The student asked me, ‘Isn’t the school office on fire?’ I rushed out of the hall and saw a fire was spreading.

Before the incident, there was a blackout around noon but I thought it was normal.

Shocked and panicked, I ran away from the area and asked a parent to call firefighters.

I then contacted the headmaster,” she said.

Rosdiana said she was alone in the office at the time of the incident as the school session had already ended and two of her counterparts had left for Friday prayers while another had gone home.

Headmaster Sofiah Md Ali said the destroyed building on the left housed the general office, teacher’s office, library, mini hall, store and textbooks storage, while the building on the right housed recovery rooms and four classrooms.

She said she was saddened by the incident although she joined the school only in 2012, adding that it carried much sentimental values to the students and teachers as is had been occupied since the 1990s.

“We were not able to save any important belongings…everything was gone,” she said.

According to Sofiah, SK Sentosa is scheduled to move to the SMK Kabota old building as their new school building and the army had agreed to assist them in transporting their school equipment on March 2.

“Next week is supposed to be our last week here because we had received an approval letter from the Education Ministry to move to the SMK Kabota old building.

“We were in the process of moving out and had already packed some of our belongings,” she added.

Sofiah said they lost teachers’ personal files, students’ files, four computers, 40 1Malaysia laptops, a cart, a safety box, LCD and a table, adding that textbooks and library books were moved earlier.

Meanwhile, district Fire and Rescue Department Chief Sharudy Delamin said four fire engines with nine firefighters were deployed to the scene after receiving a distress call at 12.18pm.

He said when the team arrived, the two buildings which were only three metres apart were 95 per cent burnt.

“The fire spread very quickly because the buildings were made from wood.

We immediately conducted a cooling operation to save another building which was seven metres away from the two.

“Luckily, the school session had already ended and no casualties were reported in the incident,” he said.

The cause of the fire and total losses are still under investigation.

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Conduct regular safety audit

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

THE roof collapse at SK Jerangau, Dungun, Terengganu on Feb 20 shows that safety must be improved in schools.

Although there was no injury or fatality, we must bear in mind that accidents in schools could cause serious injury or death.

Another incident in which a Form 2 student in Gemas died when a blade from a ride-on lawnmower struck her in the head is a clear example.

Death is preventable only if safety measures are in place and adhered to.

The authorities, especially the Public Works Department, must work with schools to carry out safety audits.

The audits can be conducted every five years in new schools and annually in older ones.

Schools also must have a safety and health committee as required under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Osha) 1994, which states that a workplace with more than 40 employees must set up the committee.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will continue to create awareness on occupational safety and health (OSH) in collaboration with the Education Ministry. I hope the effort will receive strong support from teachers, staff and students.

The collapsed roof at SK Jerangau in Dungun, Terengganu, on Feb 20. FILE PIC

All workplaces have hazards and risks that need to be addressed. It is the responsibility of those at the workplaces, including teachers and students in schools, to identify and take measures to prevent accidents and deaths.

Schools must participate in the “OSH in School” programme to raise awareness on safety and health.

More than 50 schools are taking part in the programme, held in collaboration with the Human Resources and Education Ministries since 2015.

The programme is comprehensive as it considers schools as places of work and therefore are subjected to the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (Osha 1994).

Osha 1994 ensures the safety, health and welfare of the people at work, protects those in the workplace and provides a conducive working environment in accordance with workers’ psychological and physiological needs.

A safe school does not only mean that it is free from disciplinary problems and crimes such as bullying, gangsterism and drug abuse, but also all its facilities must be safe.

Students should be educated on safety and health culture so that they understand the concept and embrace it.

We must involve the students as they can act as the eyes and ears of the school management when they implement good OSH practices, including hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control.

If a good OSH system is in place and teachers, staff and students are well-trained, they will immediately alert the administration when they notice something that could pose a danger to them and others, such as exposed power cables, rusty goalposts, leaked chemicals or workers not adhering to safety regulations.


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