AT the end of last year, we were yet again greeted by the unfortunate news that a construction worker was killed at the construction site in an accident in Kuchai Lama Entrepreneurs Park.
According to the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) for Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, a comprehensive risk assessment was not done by the employer.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia urges the relevant departments like DOSH and others to conduct stricter and more regular inspections on new and old construction projects to ensure such mistakes never happen again.
These errant employers often ignore important safety procedures to save on costs and maximise profits even at the expense of the construction workers.
We are afraid that this negligence will only increase with companies cutting corners to save costs during this COVID-19 pandemic.
We must value the lives of our migrant work force and stop treating them as dispensable commodities.
DOSH must also remember that they have the absolute responsibility of ensuring that the work place of each employee in Malaysia is safe.
We also demand that construction companies responsible for the deaths of their workers be blacklisted and their director and safety officers be held liable for those incidents.
DOSH should also work harder and ensure that a tripartite body is created involving unions to jointly monitor safety standards at work sites.
Heftier fines must also be issued to these irresponsible employers to serve as a good deterrent.
Therefore, we propose that the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (OSHA) or Act 514 be amended to increase the maximum monetary fine from a mere RM50,000 to a minimum of RM500,000.
This needs to be a deterrent to irresponsible employers and companies and forces them to be accountable for the safety and lives of their employees.
The right to a safe work place is a basic human right for all workers and needs to be upheld. – Jan 9, 2022
Geetha Anbalagan is the coordinator of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) Workers’ Bureau.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.