The topmost priority should be to make all workplaces safe from transmission of Covid-19 as required by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It is essential to ensure that all safety precautions are put in place before work resumes. As the saying goes, “discretion is the better part of valour”, which is wise to be careful and avoid unnecessary risks.
With this in mind, employers should adhere to the SOPs set by the Health Ministry and practise social distancing by not requiring all their staff to be back at the workplace with some working from home until the coast is clear.
In this connection, safety and health committees at all places of work which have been mandated under OSHA must focus on Covid-19 prevention in addition to its core duty which is to ensure the practice of safety and health and promote OSH at the workplace.
In the fight against Covid-19, OSH committees should look into the following:-
1. Ensure all safety precautions are taken before restarting work.
2. Ensuring compliances to all SOPs at all workplaces.
3. Identifying solutions and design safety features and safe work procedures in workplaces as part of the new normal.
4. Ensuring adequate personal protective equipment for use by all workers for prevention of Covid-19 and accidents.
5. Promoting mental health literacy and awareness among all workers and educate them on ways to address all mental health issues.
The war against Covid-19 is not over. We have not won the war yet. We must not let our guard down.
In the final analysis, what is urgently needed in the fight against Covid-19 is people empowerment and this includes the employers and employees, fully understanding the serious threat and danger of Covid-19 and taking initiatives to keep themselves safe at all times.
The constant reminder from Health director-general of Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on the importance of community empowerment to combat Covid-19 is most crucial and must be taken seriously.
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye
Alliance for Safe Community chairman