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Published: Sunday August 3, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday August 3, 2014 MYT 7:11:35 AM

Bosses help workers cope with the haze

Outdoor protection: A postman wearing a mask making his rounds in Alor Gajah during hazy conditions in June.

Outdoor protection: A postman wearing a mask making his rounds in Alor Gajah during hazy conditions in June.

PETALING JAYA: Companies are showing their caring side as they try to help employees cope with the hazy weather.

Pos Malaysia has started providing its 10,000 postmen and courier personnel nationwide with face masks.

“They connect people so it is important that we take care of them,” its spokesman said.

A human resources department staff member said her courier company in Shah Alam distributed three-ply masks to some 1,000 drivers, riders and logistics staff in June.

“We are located in an industrial area so the haze here is usually bad. Open burning and forest fires make it worse,” she said, adding that the company stocked up early on its mask supply in anticipation of the hot and hazy season.

DeliverEat partner Leong Shir Mein said its crew were given thick filter masks and water bottles, briefed on staying healthy and required to return immediately to the office after every delivery to minimise exposure.

Domino’s Pizza Malaysia and Singapore president Ba U Shan-Ting said the company would temporary halt its delivery service if the air pollutant index (API) exceeded 200.

He said besides providing masks for all outlets, the company’s standard operating procedure also included measures to be taken at different levels of the API.

“Bad air is hazardous. It is our duty to place the health and safety of our employees above financial considerations,” he said, adding that an internal committee was set up to monitor the situation closely.

Last week, Muslims here celebrated Hari Raya shrouded in haze as the API reading reached 145 in Sibu. Unhealthy readings were also recorded in Batu Muda, Port Klang, Cheras, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Banting, Petaling Jaya and Putrajaya.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan reminded its 4,500 member companies and 18 affiliate trade associations to ensure that the workplace air quality conformed to health and safety regulations.

He said employers were bracing themselves for more employees to fall ill.

“We expect to receive more medical certificates relating to respiratory illnesses if the haze situation reaches a dangerous level.

“Employers and their staff should discuss ways to minimise the health risk and cooperate closely so that attendance and productivity can be maintained.”

Malaysian Trades Union Congress president Mohd Khalid Atan said employers should be flexible and understand if employees called in sick because everyone was susceptible to the haze.

Tags / Keywords: haze, protect employees

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