Working in bad weather, employers can take action
Working in bad weather, employers can take action

Working in bad weather, employers can take action

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Heavy rains followed by thunderstorms and flash floods due to the recent weather uncertainty not only affected the field work including construction sites but also posed a safety hazard to the workers.

Extreme weather associated with climate change is nothing new, and many studies show that its effects are getting worse and can often lead to natural disasters.

This scenario of course requires all parties, including employers, to pay close attention to the safety of their employees in the field, especially when facing bad weather, and not for the sake of profit and allow them to continue to work.

Commenting on the matter, Deputy Director General (Occupational Safety), Department of Occupational Safety and Health in Malaysia (DOSH), Mohamad Anwar Imbey, told Bernama that employers and employees should always be aware of climate situations and adhere to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in order to safety. work.

According to him, this requirement is stipulated in the regulations, guidelines and legislation related to occupational safety and health.

He stressed that any employer who is monitored and deliberately neglecting the safety of workers, including those who ordered them to continue working in the field despite the bad weather, can be prosecuted.

This is in line with Section 15(1), the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 which establishes the obligation of every employer to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees, including in the event of inclement weather.

Failure by the employer to comply with the existing legal provisions may also result in a fine of not more than RM50,000 to the party or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

“In the Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Act 2022, these offenses may be charged under a provision that has a duty to conduct and carry out a risk assessment.

“The conviction penalty stipulated in this crime is a fine not exceeding 500,000 ringgit or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both,” he said, adding that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has always focused on enforcement in the construction sector to ensure the safety of workers. The public is reassured.

During 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (DOSH) inspected 16,707 construction sites nationwide, and in the inspection, the relevant authorities also took punitive actions for non-compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) legislation.

According to Muhammad Anwar, for the year 2021 the Ministry of Health issued a total of 327 complexes worth RM633,000 in addition to 52 cases that were also tried in court and a total penalty of RM777,500.

He added that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has and is still implementing many long-term measures such as continuous improvement measures to improve the level of occupational safety and health that can reduce accidents, including weather risks.

Among the measures is the enactment and improvement of legislation related to the construction sector, including the Occupational Safety and Health Amendment Act 2022 to remain relevant and compliant with current requirements.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also encourages the application of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the Construction Industry (OSHCIM) 2017 Guidelines.

These guidelines emphasize the responsibility of all parties, i.e. owners, designers, builders or contractors from the beginning of the construction phase to the demolition phase, to identify and control occupational safety and health risks to prevent any unwanted incidents.

“These guidelines are being worked on to upgrade them into rules that must be adhered to by all players in the construction industry,” he said.

Many may remember the infectious video on social media last February which showed a moment of anxiety that hit some workers who were in the gondola which appeared to be spinning due to strong winds, thus crashing into the structure of the building.

Commenting on the incident, Muhammad Anwar said, his party has taken proactive measures to ensure that such incidents do not recur, including requiring employers to conduct risk assessments and take preventive and control measures in the workplace to prevent any unwanted incidents.

“For example, when a storm occurs on a construction site, it will affect the stability of temporary structures (buildings under construction) such as scaffolding, formwork and trusses as well as other construction machinery including cranes and gondolas.

“The situation will certainly pose danger not only to the workers but also to the public near the construction site,” he said.

According to him, the provisions regarding the obligation to conduct risk assessments and implement control measures are enshrined in the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act 2022.

By law, employees are also given the right to isolate themselves from the work site if they feel they are in danger, including in the face of bad weather.

“A worker, after informing the employer or his representative, that he has reasonable grounds to believe that there is an imminent danger in his workplace, shall have the right to remove himself from the danger or work if the employer fails to take any action to remove the danger.

He said, “…The employee who rids himself of danger must be protected from unjustified consequences and will not be discriminated against.”

Mohamed Anwar stressed that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is always serious in improving the level of safety, health and welfare of employees and the public by implementing and improving enforcement work, standard setting as well as promotional activities to increase the level of safety awareness.

Meanwhile, commenting on the risks of climate change to the country’s construction industry, Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Datuk Ir Ahmed Asri Abdul Hamid said the Safety and Health Officer (SHO) or Construction Site Safety Supervisor (SSS) should be Prepared for any eventuality in case there is a threat of bad weather phenomenon on the construction site.

According to him, it is important for the concerned parties to provide risk management measures as well as develop appropriate standard operating procedures to ensure the safety of employees and the work environment.

He said employers and employees also need to be aware of any weather changes as well as warnings issued by authorities, including from the Malaysian Meteorological Department, and comply with the instructions issued.

The officers and supervisors supervising the construction site area must be sensitive to any climatic changes and also need to provide HIRARC documents which are Hazard Identification(s), Hazard Assessment and Risk Control for the construction site under their control and supervision.

“Currently, some elements related to the risks of impacts from climate change are already in the construction safety and health training. However, there is still room for improvement to provide more comprehensive and specific knowledge related to the risks of climate change.

Among the exercises emphasized through the Guidelines and Guidelines for Building Resilience to Floods and Landslides have been implemented since last year.

“Through the production of guidelines and manuals, training on their use is also disclosed to local authorities and industry actors.

“We also issue safety guidelines, ISO certificates and construction industry standards for use on construction sites and maintenance, which includes safety clothing, safety equipment and safe work manuals,” added Ahmed Asri.

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