DOSH urges employers to safeguard health and safety of workers against coronavirus

Nor Halim (second left) giving a briefing to management staff of KIA. Also seen is senior airport manager Ir Jun Iskandar Murshidi (in white shirt).

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 5: All employers in Sarawak have been advised to take appropriate control and preventive actions to protect workers from risk of exposure to the 2019 novel coronavirus, especially those in the frontline of services.

The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) Sarawak director Dr Nor Halim Hasan urged employers to carry out risk assessment and improve work procedures to greatly reduce the exposure risk of frontliners who have direct exposure with suspected cases or visitors.

“It is the duty of employers to ensure the safety and health of workers. It is important that early measures are taken in response to the growing threat posed by the coronavirus.

“The measures include strengthening procedures and providing protective gear for frontline workers who have direct exposure to the environment,” he told a press conference at media room of Kuching International Airport (KIA) today.

Nor Halim was at KIA under the management of Malaysia Airport Sdn Bhd to review its response and preparedness plan in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The surveillance programme was also aimed at issuing advisories as well as infection prevention and control guidelines that needed to be taken to prevent exposure risk for the safety, health and welfare of employers, workers and the public.

He urged all employers to provide protective gears such as face mask especially for frontline workers in public environment such as entry points including airports, shopping malls and others.

“If we can control and guard our entry points well, it will prevent the exposure risk to other public places.

“And necessary directions and preparedness activities have been informed and shared with all sectors including contractors and retailers,” he explained.

He also urged all Sarawakians to take precautionary measures by observing high level of hygiene such as often washing hands with water and soap or hand sanitiser, using mask, avoid crowded public places and seek treatment immediately if fallen ill.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, employers who commit an offence shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

For further information, employers, workers and the public can refer to the advisories and guidelines issued by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. —DayakDaily