Talib: OSH imperative for organisations in era of IR 4.0

Talib (centre) about to sign a plaque to launch BOSH 2019 while Lau (left) and others look on.

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KUCHING, Oct 15: Occupational safety and health is crucial to revolutionise the workplace in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) to ensure a sustainable workforce and also safety.

Speaking during the 6th Borneo Occupational Safety and Health Conference and Exhibition (BOSH 2019), Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip pointed out technology is rapidly advancing and affecting almost every aspect of life including at the workplace where digitalisation, robotics, and the use of nanotechnology, among others, are changing the workplace.

He highlighted that job seekers in Malaysia are already finding it difficult to procure stable jobs with or without a relevant university degree.

“We have no choice but to look at the future of work and the skills needed to deal with it.

“Like it or not, the changes are happening now and occupational safety and health (OSH) bodies, professionals and practitioners have to adapt to these changes and act to ensure that they do not have a negative impact on our workers’ health and safety,” urged Talib.

He added that there is no need to look at these changes from a negative perspective, because with better technologies and devices, dangerous situations could be avoided, thus improving job quality.

Talib also pointed that the safety, health and welfare of ]workers is a critical aspect.

He opined there are industries which do not want to invest in safety and health in the workplace because of the cost factor.

“As we move forward in the era of IR 4.0, workers should be protected in terms of health and safety and nurtured to ensure that they continue to be productive. It makes sense as employees are often regarded by management to be the most important asset of any organisation.

“They do not seem to realise that if accidents or fatalities occur due to their disregard for OSH, the costs they have to bear will even be much heavier, and my presence here shows that the state government is always committed to ensuring the safety, health and welfare of every worker is protected,” he emphasised.

Talib (second left) visiting an exhibition booth accompanied by Lau (left) after launching BOSH 2019.

Talib expressed hope that the industries in Sarawak in particular and Borneo in general, could see OSH training for employees as an investment and not an expense.

He noted that in the global economy, OSH issues are among the key determinants to a company’s competitiveness through productivity enhancement and efficiency.

“Observations and evidence have shown that an increase in productivity and an improvement in workplace environment were the results of good safety and health work practices and the adoption of a work safety culture.”

Among those present during the launching ceremony were National Occupational Safety and Health Institute (NIOSH) chairwoman Alice Lau Kiong Yieng, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (JKKP) state director Dr Nor Halim Hassan, Sarawak Social Security Organisation deputy director Dundang Undong and other distinguished guests. — DayakDaily