The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994 will be amended to further streamline existing regulations according to current requirements, Deputy Minister of Human Resources Mahfuz Omar said today.
Mahfuz said the amendment expected to be tabled the Dewan Rakyat next month would be a gamechanger on the effectiveness of the enforcement by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and compliance by employers and employees.
He said the amendment would also empower the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Institute (NIOSH) in providing training, advisory services and research and development to the government and the industry.
“The coverage of the act will be more comprehensive and we will also have enablers so that we can make more specific rules under certain circumstances or if necessary.
“We are also looking at a massive change in the penalty. The amendment will also provide protection to members of the media,” he told a press conference after opening the Conference and Exhibition on Occupational Safety and Health in Putrajaya today.
Mahfuz, who is also chairperson of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, said through the amendment, the ministry would try to inculcate self-enforcement among employers and employees, as DOSH did not have sufficient enforcement personnel to carry out nationwide inspections.
The deputy minister also admitted that the ministry was not satisfied with the workplace accident rate in the country, saying that public awareness on the importance of self-enforcement to ensure occupational safety was still low.
“Employers should not focus only on making profit and give little attention to occupational safety in their organisations as they too can fall victims to industrial accidents.
“The workers, on the other hand, should be brave in lodging reports if the employers failed to provide appropriate workplace safety protection. Many workers are too afraid to come forward now for fear of losing their jobs,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Mahfuz said the ministry aimed to reduce industrial accident rate to 2.53 for every 1,000 workers and workplace death rate to 4.36 for every 100,000 workers by 2020.