Dept to brief factory workers


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 10 Apr 2003

BY DEVID RAJAH

PUTRAJAYA: Officers from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) will visit industrial zones nationwide from today to explain how their managers and workers can help to contain and prevent the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said pamphlets on the “dos and don’ts” on how to keep the environment clean would be distributed to the workers and the human resources personnel during the visits. 

“This is part of the Cabinet’s directive to manage, contain and prevent the spread of SARS at workplaces,” said Dr Fong, who will be at the Batu Berendam industrial area in Malacca today to launch the campaign. 

“Factories must put up special information booths on SARS,” he told reporters after a post-Cabinet meeting at his ministry yesterday. 

He added that human resources managers could also form monitoring units at their plants to spot staff with SARS symptoms. 

“Changing rooms, toilets, canteens and meeting rooms must be kept clean and disinfected every day, while adequate protection like face masks should be provided to workers if a suspected SARS case is detected,” he said, adding that all factory operators must co-operate with the health authorities at all times. 

He said the guidelines required the management staff to relay the latest information on SARS to workers from time to time. 

Workers and managers who travel overseas often should also be closely monitored. 

“It is up to the individual companies to temporarily stop overseas training and meetings, especially to affected countries,” he said to a question. 

Dr Fong said the guidelines did not only apply to factories but also to other large organisations with a big workforce. 

In Kuala Terengganu, K. SUTHAKAR reports that the Education Ministry would soon organise briefings for all school heads on how to recognise and detect the symptoms of SARS. 

The ministry would also distribute circulars to schools and might even supply masks to students if the situation worsens, especially in congested schools in urban areas. 

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsudin said the briefings would be conducted by Health Ministry officials. 

“I will discuss this matter (briefings) with Education director-general (Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat) tomorrow (today),” he told newsmen after opening the Terengganu-born Undergraduates (Mahasiswa Anak Terengganu) Convention here.  

Abdul Aziz said although there were no cases of SARS among students, the ministry was taking precautionary steps. 

Commenting on his recent statement that schools should be closed down temporarily if a quarter of the student population was down with SARs, he said: “We can reduce this figure if the one-quarter student population figure is considered too big.”  

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