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NIOSH: Contractors Should Step Up Good OSH Practices

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KUCHING – The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) has urged contractors who wish to bid for any construction contract to first provide a safety policy statement, furnish information on experience and safety training given to their employees, and also implement the HIRARC principle.

HIRARC (Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control) is the general responsibility of the employer under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (Act 514), where the employer has to provide a safe workplace for his employees and other persons concerned.

Niosh chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said developers and contractors must implement good Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) practices at their construction sites including adopting HIRARC which was the concept of hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control.

“This will help workers and their supervisors identify hazards and risks and find ways to avoid them. Many people are not aware of the importance of occupational safety and health until an accident, injury or fatality occurs,” he said in a statement issued right after he delivered a keynote address entitled, ‘Construction Sector Needs Good OSH Practices’ at the JKR 2nd Safety Forum here today.

He said the latest fatal incident at a construction site in Lengkok Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah, George Town on Oct 21 was another example where safety was taken for granted and was the result of poor OSH practices at worksite.

Lee said although the government authorities enacted and enforced laws, the responsibility in implementing a safety system at the construction site rested mainly with the main and sub-contractors.

He stressed that those who created risk and hazards were in better position to manage them and therefore, contractors should be responsible in ensuring that the workplace was safe and healthy.

The Niosh chairman noted that the Social Security Organisation statistics showed that 7,338 cases were reported in the construction industry last year as compared to 4,330 cases in 2011, an increase of 69.47 per cent.

Lee said based on the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) records, 106 deaths were reported in the construction industry last year as compared with 88 in 2015. In the first seven months of this year, 40 deaths were reported in the sector.

“These statistics, especially those involving death, is very worrying because it only represented cases that were reported and investigated by DOSH. Other cases might not have been reported, especially those involving illegal foreign workers,” he added. – BERNAMA


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