KUCHING: Workers have been urged to sustain development and economic growth through managing occupational safety and health (OSH) in the workplace.
According to a study conducted by the International Labour Organisation in 2014, an estimated 2.3 million work-related deaths occurred annually worldwide.
Work-related diseases had accounted for 2 million deaths while the others were due to occupational accidents.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot said in Malaysia, there was a decreasing number of an industrial accident from the year 2010 to 2014. However, the first four months of this year saw an increasing trend in the number of industrial deaths.
“According to Social Security Organisation (Socso) statistics, there were 2,942 industrial accidents in January this year and the figure had risen to 4,325 in February and 8,173 in March. In April, there were 11,147 industrial accidents,” said Riot during the 4th Borneo Conference and Exhibition on Occupational Safety and Health (BOSH 2015) at Imperial hotel Kuching.
He said a well-designed OSH management system could help to reduce accidents at work, increase efficiency, improve productivity, boost workers morale and enhance quality of products.
The two-day conference is organised by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) every two years in Sabah and Sarawak since 2009. It serves as a platform for OSH professionals in Malaysia to discuss the current issues and challenges in OSH.
Held for the second time in Sarawak, the theme this year centred on “Journey to Safety and Health Excellence: New challenges, New People, New Approaches”.
Over 15 papers were presented by NIOSH, Department of Occupational Safety and health, Socso and others during the conference this year. Professionals from OSH fields shared and updated their OSH knowledge and skills with the participants.
BOSH 2015 also featured 30 companies and organisations involved in the marketing of OSH products and services.
“I urge all stakeholders in Malaysia to work together to reduce the occurrence of industrial accidents.
“Safe workplaces will attract more foreign investments into the country because investors would likely invest in countries that have lesser industrial accidents so they can maximise their investments and reduce operation costs,” said Riot.
NIOSH chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said BOSH intended to provide industries in the Borneo region with new and improves ideas on the implementation of OSH and OSH management within their organisations to reduce industrial accidents and improve productivity.
He said current rapid economic development gave rise to new challenges in OSH, which was why new approaches and strategies to manage these challenges were needed.
“The process of globalisation which brings about new way of doing business, economic activities, technologies and the presence of multi-ethnicity and multi-national workers of different generations in an organisations may require new policies, strategies and systems in managing OSH issues at workplaces,” said Lee.