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

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.


Red more @

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.

Read more @

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.


Read more @

‘It just did not meet safety standards’.

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
PETALING JAYA: The cladding panels used on the exterior of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) building in Jalan Gasing did not meet fire safety requirements, said Fire and Rescue Department deputy director-general Datuk Soiman Jahid.

Initial investigations revealed that the fire started on the first floor, where maintenance work was being carried out to the exterior of the building, he added.

“A spark ignited the cladding panels. Hot weather and strong wind were also factors in the spread of the fire to other parts of the building’s exterior.

“The Uniform Building Bylaws require buildings to be fitted with less flammable cladding panels. Using more flammable ones is a clear infringement,” he told reporters at the scene of the fire yesterday.

Soiman said that the material that was used in this case was polyethylene, which is more combustible.

“This incident is similar to the fire at Grenfell Tower in London last year where the use of flammable cladding panels was a key factor,” he said.

A total of 70 firemen were deployed to Jalan Gasing once the call was received.

“The fire spread mostly on the exterior of the building. We managed to put out the fire completely within 30 minutes,” he said.

Soiman announced that the department would conduct inspections on buildings nationwide, especially those with fire certificates.

Fiery incident: Firemen dousing the fire at the KWSP building in Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

“We will not renew fire certificates for buildings which use the more flammable cladding,” he said.

Soiman called on all building owners and administrators not to use the more flammable cladding panels.

“It maybe cheaper but in the end, if a fire occurs, the price is too high to pay especially if it involves the loss of lives.

“I urge building owners who have used the more flammable cladding panels to change them immediately. If you are unsure, contact us so we can assess whether the right cladding has been used,” he said.

Petaling Jaya deputy OCPD Supt Ku Mashariman Ku Mahmood said the police were on hand to assist fire fighters during the incident.

“We had to close some parts of the road leading to Jalan Gasing, so that the firefighters could put out the fire without any difficulties,” he said.

EPF officer Azmi Herizat, who has worked at the social security institution for 18 years, said it was the first time such a fire occurred there.

“I was on the first floor when I heard cables exploding. I thought nothing of it until I saw smoke coming out from a room on the first floor. My colleagues and I quickly ran outside to safety,” he said.

His co-worker Mohd Zawawi Ismail, who was manning the counters on the ground floor, said he initially thought the explosion-like sound was an accident on the Federal Highway.

“However, the smoke and burning smell made me realise it was a fire. I shouted at my colleagues and customers to leave immediately,” he said, adding that “the constant fire drills at the institution were a blessing as everyone knew where to go”.

EPF chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan expressed gratitude to the Fire and Rescue Department for putting out the blaze quickly, and apologised to those affected by the incident.

He said the statutory body would immediately investigate the cause of the fire and assess safety measures for all its buildings and branches nationwide.

Shahril expressed concern that a spark on the external cladding had started the fire, adding that they would fully cooperate with the authorities.

Read more @

Niosh: It’s a matter of public interest.

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

PETALING JAYA: The public should be informed of crane-related incidents which resulted in deaths as these cases are a matter of public interest, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman said the authorities must be very stringent in monitoring and enforcing laws and regulations under the Factories and Machinery Act 1967 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.

“Fatal accidents involving cranes at construction sites must not be taken lightly.

“Stern action must be taken against incompetent crane operators as safety aspects at construction sites must never be compromised,” he said in a statement.

“Periodical maintenance on all machinery must be carried out by all contractors. The authorities must also ensure that only certified crane operators are employed,” he said.

Since 1999, Niosh has been responsible for issuing certificates to competent crane handlers after they are assessed by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

To date, Niosh has issued 6,640 certificates to crane handlers.

DOSH said tower crane operators who fail to comply with strict safety regulations are subject to a RM200,000 fine, a jail term of up to five years, or both.

Its deputy director-general (occupational safety and health) Omar Mat Piah said it was the responsibility of project managers to ensure tower cranes had fully complied with all regulations.

Read more @

Spotlight on construction sites after crane death

Sunday, January 7th, 2018
A construction worker was killed and three others injured by a falling crane in Shah Alam on Tuesday. PIC COURTESY OF POLICE

THE incident on Tuesday — where an Indonesian construction worker was killed and three other migrant workers were injured after being hit by a falling construction crane in Shah Alam — has again raised concerns about safety in construction sites.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health supports the Selangor Department of Occupational Safety and Health’s (DOSH) action to issue a stop-work order on the construction site in Section 7 to facilitate an investigation.

The department’s preliminary investigation found failure in the structure of the machine and is carrying out further investigation.

Construction crane operators must be certified competent by DOSH, while companies operating cranes must register with DOSH.

The authorities must ensure that only certified crane operators are employed by contractors, while site officers must check on cranes daily

The authorities must monitor and enforce laws and regulations under the Factories and Machinery Act 1967 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994.

The Construction Industry Development Board should investigate the latest incident and the public should be informed of the findings.

Action must be taken against crane operators who fail to operate cranes safely. Safety in construction sites must never be compromised.

Based on OSHA 1994, the main contractor, as the employer, is responsible for ensuring the safe use of the tower crane in construction sites.

The Factories and Machinery Act 1967 requires the tower crane to be installed, maintained and dismantled by a competent company that is registered with DOSH.

The company has to be appointed by the main contractor to carry out periodical maintenance of the crane.


Read more @

Make safety, maintenance a way of life

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
The frequent occurrences of landslides and road cave-ins point to the authorities’ failure to make maintenance and safety a priority. FILE PIC

AT the start of the new year, let every Ma-laysian resolve to make the country a safer place to live in, safe not only from terrorism, crime and violence but also from tragedies which are of our own doing, be they on the roads, in residential and public areas or at workplaces.

It is essential for people to take heed of one important lesson for humanity: that civilisation can be destroyed if it does not make peace with the environment.

The fact that landslides and road cave-ins are a frequent occurrence points to our failure to make the culture of maintenance and safety a way of life.

When buildings or structures collapse, or the environment is harmed, or accidents and fatalities occur at workplaces, we are responsible. We cannot simply blame nature or the work tools.

We have to realise that any action that results in the degradation and destruction of our environment will have disastrous consequences. Similarly, if we do not manage things efficiently, occupational safety and health accidents can occur at workplaces.

The fact that fatal accidents continue to occur on our roads and highways points to the need for more to be done to improve road engineering and safety, as well as the attitude and behaviour of those behind the wheel.

Over the years, the government has spent billions of ringgit on development, but what is regrettable is the lack of maintenance. This has to be rectified and every effort must be made to inculcate the culture of maintenance and safety. And, those who are placed in charge must not shirk their responsibility.

More funding should be allocated for maintenance to be carried out by the authorities, with dedicated staff to discharge their responsibilities.

On the political front, it is vital for Malaysia to continue to exist as a democratic, united and harmonious nation despite the existence of divergent political ideologies and views.

We need to address more aggressively the issues of racial integration, unity and nation-building, besides having to deal with crime, drug addiction and a host of social ills confronting our nation.

The plans to re-establish the Socio-Economic Research Institute under the Prime Minister’s Office and upgrade the Institute of Ethnic Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia are timely as they will contribute towards the improvement of ethnic relations and chart out well-researched solutions to address socio-economic issues

We must also focus on the social agenda to deal with the social challenges in the new year.

We have to tackle the multifarious social problems in the country such as juvenile and cyber crime, illegal gambling, acts of violence, the worsening drug problem involving youths and teenagers, as well as those suffering from mental disorders.


Read more @

Niosh renews safety calls in wake of fatal Kuching construction site accident

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017
(File pix) Niosh chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye made the call following the mishap at a flood mitigation project construction site near Padang Merdeka here.

KUCHING: A fatal construction site accident here on Tuesday has prompted the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) to urge contractors to adopt stricter workplace occupational safety and health (OSH) measures.

Niosh chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye made the call following the mishap at a flood mitigation project construction site near Padang Merdeka here.

A 28-year-old man was killed when the motorcycle he was riding plunged into a one metre-deep hole at the construction site.

Passersby alerted the police when they spotted the victim’s body floating inside the watery hole at 6.30am.

Lee said developers and contractors must adopt the hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control (HIRARC) principle for their operations to avoid accidents.

“HIRARC can help construction supervisors identify hazards and risks, as well as formulate ways to avoid them.

“The contractor should place a clear warning signboard at strategic locations surrounding a construction site.

“There should be barriers placed along the construction site to prevent vehicles from entering the area. And if the construction of the project is time-consuming, contractors should consider installing concrete barriers.


Read more @

OSH keeps sports events safe

Sunday, December 17th, 2017
Runner Amiruddin Hamid was injured in the Klang Marathon on Dec 10. (FILE PIX)

THE incident where three marathon runners were struck from behind by a car in Klang should act as a reminder to those involved in sports activities about the importance of maintaining the safety of organising staff and participants.

It is sad to note that we wait for a tragedy to happen before we discover our shortfalls

I have to stress that occupational safety and health (OSH) in sports is crucial.

Now that the Youth and Sports Ministry wants to promote a healthy lifestyle through programmes and events, we need to ensure OSH in sports.

People’s excitement about sporting activities has been boosted by the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games and Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games.

National Sports Day, celebrated on the second Saturday of every October, aims to make Malaysia a sporting nation.

It was reported that the ministry had empowered the public to organise sports activities and they were encouraged to register their programmes at www.

Therefore, those involved in sports should adopt OSH management and practices to reduce accidents and health problems in the sector.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is ready to assist those in the sector to implement OSH management.

Although deaths and severe injuries do not occur every day in sports, the risks exist.

Accidents can be prevented if those involved, especially the authorities and the organisers, adopt an OSH management system based on the concept of hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control.

It is incumbent on the agencies involved and the organisers to identify and address hazards and risks.

I hope that the authorities can tighten safety procedures and ensure that organisers of ma-rathons and similar races abide by them.

The organisers must get approvals from the local authorities, traffic police, Sports Commissioner’s Office (SCO) and Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF).

The ministry and MAF should prepare guidelines for organisers and the conditions for obtaining the permit, and approved events must be uploaded onto a website.

For example, organisers must ensure that the routes are illuminated while traffic should
be dispersed away from the routes.

The safety of marathon runners must be ensured before races begin, while the safety of routes must be monitored.

Safety signs must be provided for marathon races and there must be road marshals and other safety personnel to keep participants and spectators safe.

The organisers of the mara-thon should be responsible for the safety of participants.


Read more @

NIOSH urges better safety, health management in tourism sector

Sunday, November 26th, 2017
(File pix) National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said OSH management in the tourism industry is crucial as it will definitely bring positive impact to the safety and protection of not only the workers involved but also tourists. Pix by Aziah Azmee

KUALA LUMPUR: The tourism sector should adopt good Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) management and practices to reduce the number of accidents and health problems in the sector.

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said OSH management in the tourism industry is crucial as it will definitely bring positive impact to the safety and protection of not only the workers involved but also tourists.

“The recent incident where 16 Chinese tourists and their guide were injured when the bus they were travelling in skidded and crashed should serve to remind once again all those involved in the industry the importance of occupational safety and health (OSH)

“The victims in the incident were lucky as they only suffered from minor injuries” he said in a statement today.

In the incident last Tuesday, 13 women and three men, aged between 24 and 76 were on their way to Kota Kinabalu when the bus they were travelling in skidded and crashed into a drain along the Beaufort – Papar road.

Lee pointed out that good OSH practices in the tourism industry is all the more important now that the Tourism and Culture Ministry had targeted 36 million tourist arrivals in 2020.

“If all those in the tourism industry adhere to this concept, they will certainly take proactive steps to prevent accidents or illness from happening and ultimately help reduce the number of cases every year.

“NIOSH is ready to assist the tourism industry to implement the concept as it is part of its role to provide training, give consultation, disseminate information and conduct research on OSH,” said Lee, a veteran activist.

Based on the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) information, 42 accidents in the hotel and restaurant sector were reported nationwide in the first seven months of the year.

Last year, 87 accidents and 3 deaths were reported in the hotel and restaurant sector, with two of the accidents involving permanent disability.

“Although accidents do occur in the tourism industry from time to time, we do not have the actual number of statistics because the sector is widespread and relevant data was collected by different agencies.

“It is important for us to have complete statistics so that better planning can be made to address this issue in the future,” he said.

At the same time, Lee noted that NIOSH has already embarked on various OSH programmes with the private sector and state governments, especially in Sabah and Johor.

Citing an example, he said the NIOSH regional office in Sabah has implemented many programmes for the tourism industry since 2013.

These included OSH awareness and defensive driving seminar for tour bus drivers, courses on basic water safety, basic first aid and security induction training for tourism industry workers.

NIOSH is also promoting the “Vision Zero” concept for the industry, in line with the global movement led by the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

“The pursuit of Vision Zero is not about achieving zero accidents but to find solutions to help prevent injuries and ill health

“ISSA has launched Vision Zero campaign at the 21st World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Singapore early September and it was the first ever global campaign to improve safety, health and well being at work,” he said.


Read more @