by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) prosecuted 47 cases in court amounting to a fine of RM740,400 from January to March 28 this year.
Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Awang Hashim (picture) said DOSH also issued a total of 159 compounds valued at RM770,500 for various offences against rules in all employment sectors throughout the country.
He said the fines and compounds were to educate employers and contractors to heed employee safety.
On that note and the incident at the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (SUKE) construction site package CA3 on March 22, Awang said the government and the parties involved are working to mitigate the risks of accidents.
The horrific accident claimed the lives of three workers while a civilian was seriously injured.
“We take this matter seriously. We must protect the workers and members of the public from incidents that should not have happened, which is why we ask the 14 companies involved with SUKE to discuss and solve this issue.
“This is one of the initiatives that we have taken to protect employees and the people,” he told reporters at the signing of the OSH Commitment with developers, designers and contractors of the SUKE construction project in Bangi, Selangor, yesterday.
He highlighted that the task of ensuring a safe, healthy and risk-free workplace for employees and the public rests on the shoulders of employers. It has been clearly stated in the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (OSHA 1994).
“Developers, designers and contractors are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of each premise and their activities. We sincerely hope that accidents like this will not happen again, especially one which involves the public,” he said.
He revealed that the accident at the SUKE construction site package CA3 was the culmination of six previous accidents that started in 2018.
In the wake of the incident, DOSH issued directives to all packages under the SUKE project to stop work immediately so that employers could self-inspect their respective workplaces.
Awang said the employers involved must declare their complete satisfaction with the OSH aspects of their workplaces before the work can be resumed.
He informed that SUKE was slated to complete by the end of this year, but with the project currently on hold, the date of completion will likely change.
For the CA3 package, DOSH is still investigating to find the cause of the incident. If any violation of the OSH regulations is found, DOSH will not hesitate to bring those responsible to justice, said the deputy minister.
“A maximum fine of RM200,000, or five years of imprisonment, or both can be imposed if convicted and the government is also in the process of amending OSHA 1994 to strengthen the OSH aspects in Malaysia.
“One of the proposed amendments is to increase the maximum fine to RM500,000 from the current RM50,000,” he said.
Additionally, he said frequent accidents at construction sites give a negative indication of safety performance and affect public confidence in the construction industry.
He called for employers to play their roles in the OSH issue.
“We want to restore people’s confidence in the construction industry. I also call on company leaders to be on the ground more frequently to ensure that the OSH in their respective companies is in the best condition,” said Awang.
Read our previous report here