CONCERNED with the rise of accidents in schools in recent years, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye has urged schools that are 20 years and older to conduct annual safety audits.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman said through this measure, schools will be able to identify safety hazards such as unsafe electrical wiring or rusty school gates, so preventing the occurrence of more incidents.
“It is an important matter that must be addressed for the safety and health of pupils and teachers.
“A school is a place of work.
“Every workspace is subjected to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994, which states that any place of work with more than 40 employees must set up a safety and health committee.
“(Once set up), this committee can then discuss when they should carry out the audit and they can approach authorities such as the Public Works Department (JKR) to cooperate on the matter,” he said after launching Gamuda Berhad’s Safety at School programme at SK Pulau Meranti, Puchong.
Lee said safety audits are important, especially for older schools.
“Safety in schools cannot be ignored.
“Through this audit, we will know how conducive and safe an environment a school can provide for its pupils,” he said, adding that people often think of safety and health as a boring issue.
The Safety at School programme was introduced last year by Gamuda Engineering Sdn Bhd Quality, Safety, Health and Environment Department.
Gamuda Engineering Sdn Bhd business development director Datuk Mohammad Imran Ismail said the focus is to raise awareness on safety; pupils must be aware of the basics of personal protective equipment such as helmets and safety vests.
“Looking at the rise in the number of accidents in schools, some of which have been fatal, Gamuda Berhad believes safety begins in schools.
“Safety at Schools aims to raise greater awareness on quality, safety, health and the environment,” he said.
Two schools were selected for the programme last year, namely SK (Asli) Bukit Cheding, Jenjarom and SK Sungai Serai, Hulu Langat.
Due to the overwhelming response received, Gamuda selected three schools this year; SK Pulau Meranti, Puchong, SK Bukit Changgang, Banting and SK Bukit Kemuning, Shah Alam.
Games and quizzes are conducted and designed to test pupils’ knowledge based on the occupational safety and health talks given during the one-day programme.
The top five groups will be rewarded with prizes as an incentive to focus and perform throughout the sessions.
A demonstration will also be held to introduce basic personal protective equipment to pupils, who will be asked to volunteer to wear these equipment, thus providing them with hands-on experience.
Commending Gamuda on the initiative, Lee said such programmes ensure safety values are inculcated among students from a young age.
“There is a lot more we can do to ensure safety and health in the country.
“We must make safety a culture and there is no place better to begin than at schools,” he added.