NIOSH to seek greater govt funding to improve OSH nationwide

Lau (right) and Talib being welcomed by participants upon arrival at BOSH 2019.

KUCHING, Oct 15: The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) wants to secure more funds from the government to support its efforts in improving occupational safety and health (OSH) practices in the country.

NIOSH chairwoman Alice Lau emphasised that more training grants were needed to train more competetent workers as well as upskill them to become trainers and auditors of OSH best practices.

“We will explore more unutilised training funds such as the Skills Development Fund (PTPK) and the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) so that more competent workers can be trained into trainers; thus reducing the cost of training for NIOSH,” she said.

“I will lead a discussion with the Minister of Human Resources M Kula Segaran to see how we can use these unutilised funds to train more competent workforce in the market,” she pledged.

Lau made these remarks during the opening ceremony of the 6th Borneo Conference and Exhibition on Occupational Safety and Health (BOSH) 2019 which was officiated at by Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Intergrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip today.

Efforts to protect the safety and health of the workers were crucial, she said as the workforce is the backbone of any country’s economic growth.

As such, she would also request the government to provide more incentives for employers to invest in OSH as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the benefit of the workforce.

“Safety is a major issue especially for daily labourers and skilled labourers. We keep reading that each year, accidents happen frequently in the construction sector and often times, it is due to the absence of PPE or failure to wear the provided PPE,” she revealed.

“As we are aware, PPE is extremely important in protecting workers against health or safety risks while on the job. It is meant to help reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or effective to reduce these risks to acceptable levels,” she added.

Thus, Lau stressed that it was the responsibility of employers to be aware of the safety and wellbeing of their workers at all times.

To address this issue, she will personally discuss with Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng about introducing tax incentives for each PPE purchased by employers.

“With the safety and health of the workforce in my mind, I also hope to influence the government to reform OSH-related legislation as much as possible as I strongly believe that it is extremely crucial to tighten enforcement in order to uphold safety and health at workplaces,” she said.

“Compliance to OSH best practices must be monitored consistently and we can’t afford to compromise on this. I believe we can begin by further tightening the requirements of electing the safety committee in organisations as well as the employment of safety officers in the workforce.” — DayakDaily