BINTULU: Workers must realise the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as it could determine life or death in the event of an accident at the workplace.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said although many would blame fate when death or injury occurred at workplace, they were actually preventable with the use of PPE.
“There are still employers and workers who do not care about the importance of PPE although it can save lives, especially at high-risk workplaces,” he said after launching a two-day seminar entitled ‘Managing OSH Challenge in Malaysia’ at Adtec Bintulu main lecture hall which was attended by almost 300 participants from various sectors on Tuesday.
He said legal action could also be taken against those who did not comply with the rules and regulations on PPE as prescribed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Osha) 1994.
Under Section 15 of Osha 1994, he said employers who failed to provide PPE to employees could be fined not more than RM50,000 or a maximum jail term of two years or both.
Workers found guilty of not using PPE shall be punishable under Section 24 of the same Act, which carries a fine not exceeding RM1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three months or both.
“Niosh’s concern over this issue has prompted us to make PPE management the main topic of this two-day seminar in Bintulu as well as issues related to the challenges faced by enforcement officers,” he said.
Lee said approval from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) based on the provisions under the Factory and Machinery Act 1967, OSHA 1994 and the relevant regulations must be obtained for PPE to be used in Malaysia.
According to him, there are seven types of PPE that need approval from the director-general of DOSH; namely equipment for respiratory, hearing, eye, hand, foot, body and head protection.
“Actually, the issue regarding the use of PPE will not arise if both employers and workers understand its importance and always implement good Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)Â practices,” he said.
He further said that the Occupational Safety and Health Master Plan (OSHMP 2020) had been introduced by the Ministry of Human Resources to help create safe, healthy and conducive working environment by 2020.
“OSHMP 2020 focuses on the adoption of preventive culture including the use of PPE.
“It is a continuation of responsible and self-regulatory values â€‹â€‹in two previous master plans,” he said.
He said Niosh had trained 728,739 people through 31,720 programmes for various industries from 2011 to 2016 and conducted 7,243 of the programmes involving 153,407 participants during the same period.
“By opening 15 regional and branch offices throughout Malaysia, including three in Sarawak, Niosh is currently the OSH-preferred partner for the industry,” he said.
Being located near to customers, Lee said it would help save time and cost and employers would have no reason not to send their employees to OSH-related training which also emphasised on the use of PPE.
In addition, he said Niosh also carried out OSH seminars, ‘OSH Talk’ and exhibitions to enhance awareness of safety and health issues at the workplace among employers and employees.
“Niosh also conducts research and development (R&D) activities where 81 projects have been completed from 2002 to date,” he said.
He added that Niosh, through its subsidiary Niosh Certification Sdn Bhd, also provides various auditing and certification services for compliance with standards, codes of practice, guidelines and regulations for industries in Malaysia.