KAPIT: Big corporations should consider encouraging their vendors and contractors to adhere to the occupational safety and health (OSH) law and regulations set by the authorities.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said industrial accidents could be reduced if vendors and contractors adopt good OSH practices at their workplaces.
"We don't want the recent incident where two workers died in a manhole in Ipoh (Perak) to recur. Such an accident could be avoided if all parties adhere to the law and follow the rules and regulations set by the authorities," he said after a safety talk for the Baleh Hydroelectric Project at the Kapit Civic Centre here today.
Present was Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Kapit assemblyman, Tan Sri James Jemut Masing, who opened the OSH exhibition. Also in attendance were Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) executive vice-president for corporate services Aisah Eden and Kapit Division Resident Joseph Belayong.
It was reported that the two workers from a private cleaning company died after they fell into the manhole during a cleaning-up process in front of a shopping complex on Monday.
Lee said employers could be charged under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994 if they fail to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their workers.
Under Section 15 of the Act, an employer found guilty for such an offence can be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed a maximum of two years or both.
On NIOSH's role in Sarawak, Lee said the agency had opened three branches in the state starting with its regional headquarters in Bintulu in 2002 followed by Kuching (2003) and Miri (2011).
"To fulfil the increasing demand, the fourth branch would be opened in Serian this year."
He said the NIOSH Sarawak Regional Office (SWRO) had also organised various programmes including scheduled courses, competency certification, safety passport, train the trainer and information dissemination programmes .
"A total of 16,694 individuals had been trained under 777 programmes in Sarawak," he said.