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

Niosh calls for safety audits on schools over 20 years

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Tawau: The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Hazard (Niosh) has urged the Government to undertake safety audits on schools over 20 years old every two years.

Its Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said these would allow repair work to be done periodically on schools facing problems such as wiring and wall defects after a period of time.

He said it should be the Government’s priority as there are five million students and 421,828 educators in 7,772 primary schools and 2,408 secondary schools nationwide.

“Schools should be looked at as a workplace, not just a place to learn…thus, the aspect of security and safety must be taken seriously and without compromise,” he said.

Lee said this to reporters after launching the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) at SM St Patrick, here, Monday.

The programme is in collaboration with the Education Ministry, District Education Office and sponsored by Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd.

Towards this end, Lee urged schools to implement OSH at schools to raise the awareness of students on the safety aspects of their surroundings.

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NIOSH suggests tourism, hospitality industry to embrace safety culture

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has suggested to all those involved with the tourism and hospitality industry to embrace the safety culture.

Its chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the industry must implement the concept of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) at work and also for the safety of the public.

He said implementing OSH for the hospitality industry involves the practice of HIRARC which is Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control.

“All places of work have hazards and risks which need to be addressed. It is incumbent upon those who are at the workplace to identify the hazards and risks. Take safety measures to address them so that it will not give rise to accidents or deaths.

“It is time for all those involved in the tourism and hospitality industry to take a serious view of the frequent occurrence of accidents and fatalities involving tourist as well as the public, in various parts of the country,” he said in the wake of the catamaran tragedy.

He said the tragedy should be a wake-up call to all those involved in the industry to take a very serious view of safety issues and take all necessary to prevent accident.

“Those involved in the hospitality industry such as tour and hotel operators, food and entertainment establishments have to take a serious view of the frequent occurrence of accidents and fatalities involving not only their employees but also the tourists and the public.

“This is the holiday period and many domestic and foreign visitors will flock to holiday resorts and spend time with family members and friends.

“It is essential for those involved in the hospitality industry to take all necessary measures to make the holiday outings accident-free,” Lee said in a statement, yesterday.

OSH plays an important part in the hospitality and tourism industry to prevent accidents and injuries and fatalities. If OSH is not practiced, it can lead to accidents resulting in injuries or even deaths, he pointed out.

“Commitment to health and safety makes good business sense for tour operators and those involved in the hospitality industry to prevent accidents involving their guests and employees.

“Although accidents can and do happen, there are various measures that we can adopt to limit their occurrence. Accidents can be reduced if we make prudent and cautious work practices part of our culture.

“Meticulousness about safety must be a core value for both employers and employees. Safety and health must be transformed into a culture and not be accepted as just a priority,” he said.

Many resorts, hotels and chalet are providing their guests with outdoor activities like mount climbing, hiking, scuba diving, snorkelling, water rafting, flying fox, wall climbing, bungee jumping and many more. These activities involve technical and high risks. The procedure and Emergency Response Team as well as First Aider are needed for any emergency.

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Lee urges annual safety audit for old buildings

Monday, October 31st, 2016


KOTA KINABALU: A safety audit for all old buildings should be made mandatory to safeguard the public. That was the call made by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the wake of deadly blaze at a hospital this week.

“The fire at Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor, which claimed six lives, is a wake-up call for us,” NIOSH chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye told a press conference at the Sabah NIOSH office here, yesterday.

He said the public interest demanded that an annual safety audit be made compulsory for all buildings more than 50 years old to ensure they were safe for occupancy.

The government, he added, should not be stingy in providing funds to maintain buildings, particularly hospitals and schools.

“Maintenance of old buildings is crucial,” he said, adding that budget constraints should not be allowed to compromise the safety of premises.

Lee said the government had been talking about transformation. “And so I hope there will be transformation in the maintenance culture,” he said.


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Only wisdom and integrity can save the day

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

WHAT can the authorities say that can erase the pain and fill the void in the lives of those who mourn Joice Chin Khoon Sing?

Probably nothing. Words cannot bring back the young woman whose life was snatched away last Thursday evening when a large crane hook fell and struck her car as she was driving along Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur.

In situations like this, even well-meaning statements can add to the anger, sadness and anxiety over the senseless mishap.

Department of Occupational Safety and Health director-general Datuk Mohtar Musri, for example, pointed out that there were over 600 construction sites in the Klang Valley but the department had only 12 safety inspectors in Kuala Lumpur to cover those places.

“We are conducting as many inspections as possible, including spot-checks. But no matter how much we are able to do, people will still say that it is not enough because of the increasing number of construction sites,” he said.

Shah Alam mayor Datuk Ahmad Zaharin told StarMetro that it was difficult to continuously monitor construction work.

“We even ask for the credentials of heavy machinery operators, but there is no way of knowing if others are operating them as well,” he added.

We have heard such things before. They are the verbal equivalents of throwing one’s hands up in the air or the shrugging of one’s shoulders. Such expressions of helplessness give us zero comfort.

Neither are we much encouraged by the typical flurry of stop-work orders and investigations every time a worksite accident becomes a news item. We often hear calls for strong action and in response, there are pledges to find out what has gone wrong and take the necessary steps.

Sometimes, the investigations are wrapped up fast enough – that is, before we lose interest and move on to other issues – and the relevant government agencies announce the findings, identify the culprits and mete out penalties. At other times, we do not know the outcome of these cases.

The Star Says.

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2 die, 3 others in critical condition after inhaling gas

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

SIPITANG: Two people have died and three others were in critical condition after inhaling ammonia at the Sabah Ammonia Urea (Samur) project, here.

The five men, including a Malaysian, were carrying out maintenance work at the site when one of the pipes allegedly leaked some gas around 9.30am.

Sipitang police chief DSP Ag. Md. Arsad Ag. Bakar confirmed the incident but declined to comment further amid investigations.

Arsad, however, said the incident did not pose any threat to the surrounding area.

Meanwhile, Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) in a statement said that a leakage of ammonia occurred at the Petronas Chemicals Fertiliser Sabah Sdn Bhd (PCFSSB) Plant in Sipitang around 9.30am.

A spokesperson from PCFSSB said the emergency response team was immediately mobilized and the situation had been contained.

“Five PCFSSB contractors were affected. The company, however, regrets to inform that two fatalities were reported to have been affected.

“The other three affected personnel have received appropriate medical treatment,” it said.

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Improving worksite safety

Sunday, July 24th, 2016
Measures are already underway to bring about a strong culture of safety that will minimise accidents in the construction industry.

Measures are already underway to bring about a strong culture of safety that will minimise accidents in the construction industry.

With activities of the construction industry coming under scrutiny in recent years, the relevant authorities are stepping up efforts to reduce risks and practices that are deemed dangerous.

ONE evening in March 2013, A. Vijayasingam and Arifpuddin Mansoruddin were trying to negotiate their vehicles through the heavily congested Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang.

Their cars could hardly move while stuck in the Friday traffic under the now completed Glenmarie LRT station, when nearly 10 tonnes of construction equipment fell on their cars.

The cause was due to a lifting operation at the LRT construction site that went awry, killing Vijaysingam, 34, and badly injuring Arifpuddin, 42.

This incident is just one example of how construction work can endanger the public if workers are not properly trained to perform hazardous operations.

The above is just an example that underscores Malaysia’s poor record in construction safety, with the authorities admitting that there have been far higher fatality rates in this sector compared to other industries.

In 2015, 140 people perished while working in the sector, a 57% increase compared to 2014. This translates to 21% of overall work-related fatalities or 10.94 per 100,000 workers.

Attention to detail: Trainees learning how to properly conduct a lifting operation using a mobile crane at the KVMRT training centre. Lifting is one of the high-risk activities that often result in accidents.

Attention to detail: Trainees learning how to properly conduct a lifting operation using a mobile crane at the KVMRT training centre. Lifting is one of the highrisk activities that often result in accidents.

With such disturbing figures arising from accidents in the construction industry, the focus has been on increasing efforts to improve safety measures for all in the sector, said the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

However, the board’s chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid said that most fatalities, if not all, could have been avoided.

“In a lot of cases, we failed to follow the guidelines, procedures and the safety system,” he said during a media workshop last month.

“Because of that, we see a negative perception from the public with regard to the construction industry.”

A public perception on construction industry survey was commissioned in 2014 by the board, which comes under the Works Ministry. It surveyed participants across several dimensions including safety, quality, environmental friendliness and adoption of technology.


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DOSH and CIDB pledge to reduce worksite fatalities by 50%

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

PETALING JAYA: The Department of Occupational Health and Safety (DOSH) and the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia will be joining forces to cut down the number of fatalities in the construction industry by half over the next five years.

In a media workshop on Monday, the two agencies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), pledging their collaboration in targeting safety and health, particularly fatalities, in the construction industry.

“This collaboration comes at a juncture when the construction industry is identified as one of the high-risk sectors alongside services, agriculture and manufacturing.

“The construction industry needs critical intervention and therefore it is essential that both DOSH and CIDB combine our resources with other industry stakeholders and work strategically to bring down the numbers,” DOSH director-general Datuk Mohtar Musri told reporters in his opening speech.

CIDB chief executive Datuk Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid said that the relationship between the two agencies had come a long way due to their shared goals.

“The MOU today will formalise these relationships and make the collaborations between us more structured and more comprehensive,” said Ahmad Asri.


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Much to be done to improve worksite safety

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

WISDOM has a peculiar quality - it usually flows more generously after the event.

Consider what has been said and done following an incident in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday afternoon, when a car accidentally crashed through a worksite on a road and ended up in a large, deep pit.

An 86-year-old man was the driver and also in the car was a 30-year-old woman. Fortunately, both escaped serious injuries. The car was badly damaged, though, as a result of the headlong plunge.

The worksite is part of a project to upgrade the city’s sewerage system. The Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry said the pit was a manhole under construction, and was 8.7m deep and 3.3m across.

In a media statement issued on Wednesday, the ministry said the contractor had been instructed to cover the opening with a concrete slab.

It added that as a “long-term safety control”, a concrete barrier raised 1m above the road surface would be built around every open excavation. Presumably, this applies to the entire sewerage system project.

“This measure is meant to prevent any object from falling into the open excavation,” the ministry explained. “At the same time, existing safety measures will be streamlined.”

On the same day, Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said a stop-work order on the PJ North section of the project would only be lifted after the contractor improved worksite safety measures.

“I urge all contractors to up their safety measures at the worksite and follow the guidelines given. We don’t want a repeat of such incidents,” he said.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, the chairman of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, lamented that most of the worksites along the roads had flimsy barricades and inadequate warning signage.

“Sadly, the safety of the public seems not to be in the minds of those working at the worksites,” he said.

Many Malaysian road users will agree with that view. There is the suspicion that traffic management is often little more than an afterthought when construction and maintenance work is carried out on roads.

Ensuring the safety and health of workers and the public should be a priority when planning and implementing these projects. And yet, many times we have seen motorists, pedestrians and other road users being put in harm’s way when they are near the sites.

Motorists are not warned of a hazard until they are perilously close to it. The work area and the traveled way are not properly separated. Pedestrians are exposed to vehicular traffic because they have to walk around a work site.

The Star Says.

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NIOSH: Promote mental healthcare at the workplace

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Employers should show more initiatives to promote mental health care at the workplace.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said neglect of mental health and psychosocial factors at the workplace was detrimental to the workers and directly affected productivity, efficiency and output of any enterprise.

“No workplace is immune to mental disorders and their impact in psychological, social and economic terms is high,” said Lee.

“Employee performance, frequent illness, absenteeism, accidents and staff turnover are all affected by employees’ mental health status.”

Lee was giving the keynote speech at the 8th Malaysian Conference on Healthy Ageing – Making Mental Health a Priority for Healthy Ageing at a hotel here yesterday.

He said the 2011 National Health and Morbidity Survey showed that 12% of the adult population suffered from some form of mental illness (anxiety, stress, psychosis, depression and schizophrenia).

According to the 2015 survey, 29.2% (4.2 million) of adults 16 years and above were suspected of having mental health problems.

Lee said mental health was not just about mental illness, but it was a feeling of well-being, the ability to cope with challenges, to maintain a harmonious relationship with others and to have a positive attitude towards one’s self.

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NIOSH ready to help prevent occupational fatalities in confined spaces – Lee

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has described as very unfortunate Monday’s incident in which three crew members died and three others required medical treatment after inhaling poisonous gas from a storage compartment of a fishing trawler at the Sepanggar jetty near here.

A pile of rotten fish kept in the storage chamber for more than 10 days had turned into fertiliser and produced toxic gas.

In the wake of the tragedy, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has urged on the fishing industry to create awareness and understanding of work in confined spaces among employers and workers to prevent a similar incident in the future.

NIOSH chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said in a statement yesterday awareness programmes such as seminars, dialogues or special training must now be held for various parties in the fishing industry including fishermen associations and small entrepreneurs.

He said hazards in confined spaces included toxic gas, particularly hydrogen sulfide (H2S) produced from a chemical reaction in the air trapped for a long time in an enclosed area.

“The recent accident in a confined space showed similar patterns in any industry involving fish fertiliser chamber, petroleum storage tank, boiler or manhole,”he added.

Characteristics of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S):

  • Highly toxic and can be fatal
  • Colourless
  • It is heavier than air and tends to accumulate in low-lying areas
  • It is flammable with a blue flame and its combustion produces sulfur dioxide gas (SO2), which is also toxic
  • Highly corrosive and causes corrosion on certain metals
  • At low concentrations, it smells like rotten eggs and can paralyze the sense of smell

And, Lee proposed that all industries should take serious steps to ensure that workers adhered to guidelines on the handling of tanks or storage spaces, whether to store fish fertiliser, petroleum gas, and others.

“Activities involving confined spaces may be seen as insignificant in the fishing industry, but such accidents can recur if lessons are not learnt.

“Therefore, shipowners, skippers and workers at the port or dock should have a basic knowledge of hazards in the workplace. They have the responsibility and right to health and safety at work for themselves as well as others,” he said..

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