KUCHING: Employers who fail to protect their employees against the Wuhan coronavirus can be fined up to RM50,000 or face up to two years of imprisonment, says Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) Sarawak director Dr Nor Halim Hasan.
He said under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 Act 514 (OSHA 514) Section 15, employers are obliged to ensure that their employees are well protected from any hazards, including the Wuhan coronavirus infection while at work.
“If, for example an employee happens to show symptoms of the coronavirus and infects other employees, but employers neglect to take precautionary measures such as not providing adequate protection like face masks, medical attention or allowing 14 days of self-quarantine away from the public or workplace, and there are complaints about it, we will investigate under OSHA 514.
“If employers contravene the act, they are liable to a fine of RM50,000 or two years imprisonment, or both.
“Not just matters concerning the Wuhan coronavirus but also other health and safety issues at work as well,” he told reporters at the Kuching International Airport (KIA) before an inspection programme there this morning.
Dr Nor Halim pointed out that under OSHA 514, it is the duty of the employers to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of their employees, including medical care for injuries or illnesses sustained while at work.
“So far, there have been no reported violations by employers under OSHA 514 regarding the Wuhan coronavirus,” he said.
Dr Nor Halim and his team later inspected Malaysia Airports Berhad’s (MAB) operating procedures and measures taken to ensure the safety and health of it employees at KIA, especially those at the frontlines who are at high risk of being exposed to the disease due to direct contact with people coming to Sarawak from overseas.
He said so far MAB has provided adequate measures and procedures to ensure its employees are protected.
The inspection also extended to the retailers and contractors working at KIA as well, he added, saying that each employer of the retailers and contractors there have been given a memo to ensure sufficient and adequate measures are taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“We have also informed employers of shipping port managements as well to take necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety and health of their employees.
“Not only us, but the Ministry of Health is also doing their part at all entry points around the country,” said Dr Nor Halim.