KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia recorded a 19.9% decline in occupational accidents in 2020 as the government imposed restrictions and closures on economic activities to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, the Statistics Department said.
In its report entitled, “Big Data Analytics: National Occupational Accident Statistics 2020” issued on Thursday it said the number of accidents fell from 40,811 cases in 2019.
Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidi the reduction in cases drove the employment accident rate per 1,000 workers in 2020 to decrease by 0.53 percentage points to 2.18 (2019=2.71).
“The number of deaths from occupational accidents reduced by 266 cases to 312 in 2020 compared to 578 in 2019, bringing the occupational accident fatality rate per 100,000 workers to 2.09 in 2020 compared to 3.83 in the previous year,” he said.
These statistics are based on occupational accident data provided by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and Social Security Organisation (SOCSO), Ministry of Human Resources.
These statistics are crucial to assess on how safe and secure the workplace and working environments, he said.
“Although the main objective of occupational accidents statistics is to provide information for prevention purposes, they may also be used for other purposes, such as estimating the consequences of occupational accidents in terms of workdays lost, income lost or production lost, which in turn can raise awareness of the importance of occupational safety and health,” he said.
Mohd Uzir said the government's target to reduce the occupational accident rate to 2.53 and the death rate of 4.36 by 2020 was achieved.
The quarterly statistics showed a sharp decrease of 44.6% of total occupational accidents and 62.1% of deaths from occupational accidents recorded in the second quarter of 2020, when strict movement restrictions were enforced across the country.
Statistics show the composition of occupational accidents is in line with the structure of working population according to age group.
He also pointed out that about 71.8% or 23,464 cases of occupational accidents involving workers under the age of 45.
The highest accident rate was recorded among youths aged 20-24 years old at 2.49 and followed by workers aged 40-44 and 55-59 years old at 2.26 and 2.20 per 1,000 workers. However, workers aged 30-34 recorded the highest fatality rate which is 2.37.
The highest number of occupational accidents for 2020 was recorded in the manufacturing industry with 10,303 cases, followed by services (8,008 cases), construction (3,958 cases), and wholesale and retail trade (3,429 cases).
The number of occupational accidents showed a downward trend in all sectors compared to the previous year except finance, insurance, property and business services.
For the 2020 occupational accident rate, the manufacturing sector remained the highest at 4.12 cases per 1,000 employees, followed by construction (3.37) and utilities (3.15).
The hotel and restaurant industry recorded the lowest employment accident rate at 0.38 cases.
Only the finance, insurance, real estate and business services sectors registered an increase of 2.66 in 2020 compared to 1.94 in the previous year.
“All the sectors recorded decreases in total and fatality rates due to occupational accidents in 2020.
“The construction sector remained as the industry with the highest risk of occupational accident death with a recorded rate of 6.90 cases per 100,000 workers (81cases).
“Observing the cause of occupational accidents, about 62.8% of occupational accidents were caused by three types of accidents that are, falls of persons (7,885 accidents, 88 deaths), stepping on, striking against or struck by objects including falling objects (7,285 accidents, 84 deaths) and other unclassified type of accidents (5,351 accidents, 21 deaths).
“The majority of accidents are attributed by the unsafe occupational environment, transportation and transport equipment and machinery,” he said.