| James Kon |
ACCORDING to the statistics on accidents in the construction industry that was reported last year in the country, there were three deaths and 70 reported cases of serious injuries and more than 71 per cent of the injury/accident was associated with working at height.
The staggering number of accidents at construction sites was highlighted by Justina Liew Vun Ching, the Acting Assistant Director of Public Works Department (Belait and Tutong) under the Public Works Department, in her keynote address at the launch of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) guideline on field study trip for nationwide schools/colleges and higher learning institutions yesterday.
She asked the audience an important question, “Why do we have to take care about the safety and health at the workplace?” She then explained, “The answer is intended to ensure that the workplace is always in a safe condition to all parties and also to avoid any accidents and property damage. Moreover, caring for the issues of safety and health is essential for maintaining the good name of the department, to avoid any losses and also to comply with laws relating to them.”
To ensure our workplace and activities are performed in a safe and healthy environment, she added that all parties should ensure that the workplace is free from unsafe conditions and unsafe acts.
She said, “The laws and regulations to protect and safeguard workers are already enforced in our country, which is the Workplace Safety and Health Order 2009 and Regulations 2013, in which, all workplaces including government departments must adhere to and practise notwithstanding anything contained in the said order.”
To fulfil the requirements in the Workplace Safety and Health Order 2009, she highlighted, “Many things need to be implemented by the department or any organisation such as providing a safety and health management system, understanding and practising the duties and responsibilities of an employer/head of department/ officer/supervisor/staff and also the responsibility of the students at educational institutions.”
Touching on the initiative to prepare SOP for study visits, Justina said, “When the department holds a study visit to any location either outside or inside the country, it is the responsibility of the management/lecturers/teachers to protect all members of the delegation from any injuries or accidents.
To that end, she said, “All parties should always observe and practise Standard Operating Procedure as launched today. If there is any non-compliance with this procedure, it can lead to injury or accident and also unwanted things may happen to the members of the group.”
She added, “The management and the administration of educational institutions are responsible for ensuring that all aspects of health and safety concerns are taken care of during the visit. To ensure safe and healthy activity, initial preparation, before and during the visit, should be done and noted by all parties involved. All welfare requirements (PPE, First Aid Box, transportation/vehicles, accommodation, meals and breaks) for members of the group should be given attention to provide comfort, safety and to avoid any possibility of accident.”
To have a safe field study trip, she pinpointed that there should be comprehensive cooperation and responsibility at all levels of educational institutions and other related parties to ensure that activities run smoothly and no accidents occur. In addition, parents and students must also take responsibility for ensuring the safety and health of themselves and other members of the group.
In addition, members of the group must always follow directions and discipline themselves in all activities or visits undertaken.