Malaysia needs at least 9,000 safety and health officers – Lee

BANGI: At least 9,000 Safety and Health Officers (SHOs) are needed in the country to cater for the increasing workforce and new development projects nationwide, in creating safe and healthy work places.

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the Department of Occupational Safety and Health’s (DOSH) records showed that only 5,984 SHOs had registered and received their licence from the department as of last year.

To compound the matter, he added, DOSH’s records also showed that more than half of the SHOs were inactive or had yet to renew their licence this year.

We must find ways to encourage more employers to help groom SHOs as they need to get the certificate from a certified training provider, such as Niosh, and obtain at least three years of experience before they can apply for the licence from DOSH.

Lee said this at the soft launch of the Conference and Exhibition on Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) 2017 at Niosh headquarters, here, yesterday.

It was reported that there were more than 14 million workers in the country last year and the number was expected to increase significantly with the progress of various mega projects such as the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex in Johor and the Pan-Borneo Highway in Sarawak, apart from the proposed East Coast Rail Line and Singapore-KL High Speed Rail.

Lee said SHOs could play a major role towards reducing the rate of fatal industrial accidents to 2.81 per 100,000 workers in the year 2020 from 4.84 per 100,000 workers in 2015, as targeted by the Human Resources Ministry.

In 2006, he said, the accident rate at workplaces was 4.77 per 1,000 workers before it dropped to 3.10 per 1,000 workers in 2014 and 2.81 per 1,000 workers in 2015.

Our achievement to reduce fatal accidents is very significant as we recorded 7.24 fatal industrial accidents for every 100,000 workers back then in 2006, he said.

Under the OSH Master Plan, the Human Resources Ministry has set the goal to reduce the accident rate at workplaces to only two cases per 1,000 workers by the year 2020. The target is similar to the accident rate in developed countries.

Lee said NIOSH had played its role effectively by providing various OSH training and services, with more than 2,000 people attending the SHO courses each year.

Source: Malaysian Trades Union Congress