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The Star, 31 October 2013
BATU PAHAT: The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) has pressed the alarm button over the rising number of commuting accidents in the country.
According to Socso statistics, the number has increased each year – from 17,682 cases in 2007 to 26,262 last year. From January to July this year, there were 16,440 cases.
Commuting accidents, mainly road accidents, involve workers on the way to or from the workplace.
Niosh chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the Government was worried about the rise in the number of such accidents.
“We are concerned because commuting accident cases have gone up about 24% over the last two years.
“Niosh is working closely with the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Socso and the Road Safety Department to provide education, defensive riding and driving training and others.
“We want to educate workers so that they will be more careful on the road,” he said at the launch of an Occupational Safety and Health in School programme at the Kluang Vocational College here yesterday.
The college is the first vocational institution which participated in the programme since its introduction in 2004 to inculcate work safety awareness in school.
Talks and exhibitions are conducted at schools for teachers and students. So far, more than 20 primary and secondary schools have joined the programme.
According to Lee, 333 incidents were reported in the education sector in 2011 and 310 cases in 2010, but many more were not reported.
“Many feel that schools are safe, but accidents can happen anywhere and we have come across cases like collapsed roofs and accidents on the football field and in the laboratory.
“We want to teach teachers and students about OSH knowledge so they can treat the school like a workplace,” he said.
New Strait Times, 28 Sept 2013
I APPLAUD City Hall for its establishment of 54 monitoring teams to ensure that contractors adhere to guidelines and conditions when building public facilities in the city. (Streets, Sept 18)
According to Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib, the teams comprising City Hall personnel from various departments will monitor the contractors and their work during and after construction by examining the materials used and monitoring the building process.
It is high time the local authority checked and monitored all public facility projects undertaken by contractors to overcome problems like poor quality building materials, cutting corners and shoddy workmanship.
These problems, which affect public safety, must be addressed at the construction stage to avoid accidents that may lead to injuries or deaths.
Ensuring better occupational safety and health standards at all sites where construction activities are carried out will also prevent workplace accidents, which have a high rate in the construction industry.
Better supervision and monitoring of contractors and their work during construction will also help prevent various forms of leakages, which will only add to the costs of the projects.
Badly-designed or badly-built projects will also lead to constant repairs and upgrades, which will impose additional financial burden on the local authority.
But the most critical reason for supervision and monitoring is public safety, which must never be compromised.
Another important issue is the need for the local authority to ensure a culture of good maintenance for all public facilities.
Poor maintenance has been the constant bane of our community and City Hall should set an example for all the local authorities in the country by embracing a culture of good maintenance.
City Hall's move to set up monitoring teams to ensure the better performance of all contractors must be emulated by all other local authorities in the country in the interest of occupational safety and health and public safety.
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health chairman