Malaysia introduces new workplace safety master plan

The plan looks at post-COVID considerations

Malaysia introduces new workplace safety master plan

Malaysia has launched a new medium-term master plan that will seek to promote workplace health and safety amid the emergence of new work environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Occupational Safety and Health Master Plan 2021-2025 (OSHMP25) outlines seven strategic core values, the Malay Mail reported.

The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) said the masterplan "sets the occupational safety and health development model, direction, and activities of the nation." It listed the following key strategies:

  1. Occupational safety and health (OSH) empowerment in the public sector
  2. Strengthening of self-regulation practice in the workplace
  3. Promotion of OSH education and research
  4. Empowerment of occupational health
  5. Improving OSH compliance in the small and medium-sized enterprises sector
  6. Strengthening OSH through technology
  7. Improvement of OSH to work related to roads, informal sector, and future jobs.

"It is our shared responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. Employers, government, and workers, all of us plays an important role in achieving this national mission," DOSH said in the video.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said during the launching of OSHMP25 that the plan was formulated after considering the current working scenarios and how it changed.

"Today, the home of each Malaysian Family is also a workspace. Similarly in cafes, stalls and restaurants," he said as quoted by Malay Mail. "Practising safe work culture is essential for all of us to adhere to."

Read more: Malaysians fearful of return to work due to safety concerns

The prime minister underscored the effects of how the new workplace due to COVID-19 has "exposed" new safety and health risks, such as posture problems and psychosocial issues, especially on mental stress.

"The direct effects of neglecting OSH would see the country experiencing four per cent losses in the Gross Domestic Product revenue per year," he warned in the speech quoted by Malay Mail. "Nonetheless, what is prioritised by the government is to prevent the loss of lives of the Malaysian family."

Responses to the plan

The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) responded well to the new OSHMP25, saying it will help improve the overall well-being of private sector employees amid the pandemic.

"The OSHMP25 initiative is timely as a way forward to improve the overall well-being of private sector employees because the greatest asset of employers is the health and safety of our employees," said MEF president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman in a statement.

"As the COVID-19 situation has become endemic through the vaccination programme, safety and health must be maintained at all costs," he added.

Syed Husman extended his gratitude to the prime minister and said the MEF is working with the Ministry of Human Resources "to ensure this agenda is brought to top priority."

Read more: Malaysia sets November deadline for unvaccinated federal civil servants

The OSHMP25 is a continuation of OSHMP2020, and the Alliance for Safe Community described the latest masterplan as a "much-improved" version compared to the previous programme.

"It is a welcome news that the government has rolled out the long-awaited OSH master plan, which is a much-improved version compared to the previous master plan," said chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye in a statement quoted by New Straits Times.

Lee attributed its improvement to the consideration of changes in the workplace since the outbreak of COVID-19.

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