Technology help improves workplace safety

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.

By TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/05/485653/technology-help-improves-workplace-safety

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