Socso laments rise in number of commuting accidents

SAFETY FIRST: Dr Jerip (third right) straps a safety helmet on a motorcyclist while Azman (second right), Young (right) and Riba (fourth right) look on.

KUCHING: Despite many awareness programmes conducted by various government agencies including Social Security Organisation (Socso) to reduce accidents, commuting accident cases continue to rise at an alarming rate.

According to Socso deputy chief executive officer Datuk Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed, Socso and a few other agencies and non-governmental organisations had managed to reduce accident cases from 81,810 in 2002 to 59,897 last year.

“However, the latest statistics until August this year shows that accident rate has increased by 2.4 per cent to 40,127 cases compared to 31,986 cases in the same period last year. Commuting accidents have also increased by 4.72 per cent to 16,666 cases in August this year.

“It shows that even though we have put in much effort, there is still much to be done to arrest the rising trend,” he said at the launch of Motorcyclists Safety Programme at X-Fab Sarawak yesterday.

The programme, jointly organised by Socso and X-Fab Sarawak, was attended by employees from all strata of employment at the company. A total of 300 helmets and vests were also distributed during the event.

Also present were state Socso director John Riba Marin and X-Fab Sarawak chief executive Mike Young.

On the number of accidents specific to Sarawak for 2011-2012, Azman said the state Socso received 3,378 cases related to industrial accidents and 853 cases related to commuting accidents in 2011. In the first 10 months of this year the total of reported industrial accident is 2,976 and commuting accident 774.

“The number of fatalities involving commuting accidents was 48 for the whole of last year, but in the first 10 months of this year 46 cases have already been reported.

“This is an alarming figure and there is high possibility that the total number of fatalities this year may increase,” he said.

Azman also said there was a need for more road safety awareness campaigns at companies and workplaces.

“Commuting accidents have been found to occur within the five-km radius of the workplace.

“This scenario should encourage more companies to come forward and join us to jointly organiss such campaigns at their respective workplaces.

“We believe also that we need to give back more to our contributors. Instead of waiting to give back money when limbs and lives are lost, we have decided to look into how we can prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

“This year we have spent nearly RM5 million nationwide to implement various awareness programmes ,” he said.

Assistant Minister of Public Health Dr Jerip Susil, who was invited to officiate at the event, hoped that Socso and X-Fab’s effort would be emulated by other organisations.

“Private companies should step up efforts to reduce accidents, especially commuting accidents, among their employees.

“Accidents must be prevented because they cause negative implications in various aspects such as economic loss, property damage and deaths,” he said.

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