Don’t sacrifice safety for cost savings – Niosh chief

SIBU: Loud calls are ringing for employers at all workplaces to not introduce or implement cost-cutting measures at the expense of the safety and health of their employees.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye cautioned yesterday that if accidents occurred, lives might be lost and productivity would be affected.

Accidents don’t just happen as they are caused and as such they can be prevented, stressed Lee.

Through the implementation of safe work procedures as well as the usage of personal protective equipment, the workers would be able to prevent accidents, he added.

“While we realise that employers need to take measures to cut costs for their operations, I would advise that this should not be done at the expense of the safety and health of their employees.

“Companies must not be stingy or cut costs when it comes to maintaining a safe plant and machinery, provision of a personal protective equipment, investment in occupational safety and health (OSH) training and managing OSH issues at the workplace.

“This is because when accidents occur at the worksite, employers have to endure greater losses in terms of work stoppage, medical payment, compensation and so on,” Lee said in a statement.

Companies and employers must regard occupational safety and health as part of their corporate responsibility and allocate a yearly budget for safety education and training to help prevent work-related accidents, he said.

He pointed out that as workers must be assured of their rights to a safe and healthy work environment, there is a need to provide them with information, education and training so that they know best how to protect themselves.

Making the workplace safe is a joint responsibility of both the employers and the workers, he stressed, adding that safety should be a key issue at every workplace.

“An accident prevention strategy must be adopted by all companies and measures to introduce an OSH Management system must be put in place to manage all issues related to safety at work,” Lee stressed.

He observed that many years of experience in the working environment had shown that if training in the prevention of occupational risks began only at the adult stage of life, it could give rise to problems like attitudes and habitual behavior towards risks.

“Consequently, safety and health education needs to begin during childhood and be continued throughout schooling to build safety awareness and evolve a safety culture among Malaysians,” Lee advocated.


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