Monday, August 27, 2012

Malaysian must strive towards an accident free workplace, Lee Lam Thye

Kundasang, Sabah, Tuesday, 28th August 2012 :

NIOSH Chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye stated today that although the country’s industrial accident rate had been halved over the past 10 years the remaining challenge would be to build and foster an OSH culture in Malaysia and strive towards an accident-free workplace environment.

The latest statistics from the Ministry of Human Resources indicated that the industrial accident rate had fallen from 10.3 cases for every 1,000 workers in 2002 to 5.72 cases last year.

OSH practitioners, employers and employees as well as Malaysians in general are pleased to note that the rate of accidents at workplaces has been halved over the past 10 years.

The reduction in the accident rate at the workplace is a reflection of the commitment and joint efforts by the Government, employers and employees to reduce workplace accidents.

While we are pleased to note the success of the joint efforts by all parties concerned the biggest challenge that remains is not only to further reduce the accident rate in the days ahead but also to build and foster an OSH Culture in Malaysia and strive towards an accident-free workplace environment.

For a start we need to benchmark ourselves against the developed countries which only have 3-4 accidents per 1,000 workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Master Plan 2010-2015 must be given utmost attention by all the parties concerned to achieve further reduction in the rate of industrial accidents.

Companies must not profit at the expense of safety because if accidents occurs lives may be lost and productivity will be affected. OSH ownership in every organisation is of paramount importance.

The focal point of safety is the human being or the employee who needs protection in all respect of his/her life.

An accident prevention coupled with an OSH Management strategy should therefore be adopted by all companies. To achieve the total promotion of safety and health at work and elsewhere organizational measures for accident prevention, motivation and behavioural change must be adopted.

Speaking after the official launching of the Occupational Safety and Health Seminar for the Tourism Industry in SABAH, by Y.B Dr Joachim Gunsalam Kundasang Assemblyman on behalf the Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Tan Sri Lee said it is the responsibility of management to ensure that safety is a culture at their organisation, not just a priority. There is an urgent need to translate OSH knowledge into behaviour and practical application. OSH sloganeering is not the answer. We must avoid a situation where behind all the OSH banners and signages the workplace hazards are not addressed and controlled.

In this time of global competition and sweeping change, it is not enough for companies to make safety a priority. Priorities change but cultures stand the test of time. Safety must be a culture and a core value at the workplace. And certainly managing occupational safety and health ensures business competitiveness.

Managing Occupational Safety and Health Towards Business Competitiveness is of utmost importance and employers must see training as an INVESTMENT and not an EXPENSE.

Management or employers must recognize OSH of employees as an integral part of business management. Concerns for the bottom line must be looked at with equal gravity with OSH issues at the workplace. After all they are both concerned with the viability of the business enterprise.

Employees are often regarded by management to be the most important asset of any organisation. Hence, it makes sense that this particular asset should be protected in terms of health and safety and nurtured to ensure that it continues to be productive.

In any business enterprise, the issue of preserving and retaining the employees is most urgent. Management must now step back and take a hard look at their asset and actively show how much they value their employees with a responsible OSH Policy backed up by the necessary organisation and systems to implement accident prevention programmes.

Common sense tells us that “Safety is Good Business”. If industries give priority to safety issues at the workplace it will certainly be beneficial to the business.

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