News: Malaysians can walk out of unsafe work environments freely

Life @ Work

Malaysians can walk out of unsafe work environments freely

Workers have the right to remove themselves from high-risk environments without being discriminated against.
Malaysians can walk out of unsafe work environments freely

KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian government reassured workers that they have the right to leave an unsafe environment at work based on the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) (Amendment) 2022, which will take effect on 1 June.

Human Resources Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong said the OSHA includes provisions designed to provide workers with more benefits.

“One of the advantages of this Act is that workers have the right to isolate themselves from high-risk places and be protected against undue consequences and shall not be discriminated against,” Sim said.

“This is in line with Convention 155 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).”

On Sunday (28 Apr), Sim attended World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2024, where 2,500 professionals from the health and safety sector had gathered. Participants recited the integrity pledge, making the event the biggest gathering of health and safety practitioners in the country.

Responsibilities of employers and authorities

According to Sim, the OSHA amendment tasks employers and authorities with analysing the various risks present in the workplace.

“I always insist that the safety and health practices of workers must catch up with the changing times,” the HR Minister said.

"The obligation under the new amendment to this Act also obliges the employer to appoint an employee safety and health coordinator where five employees and above must have a coordinator who takes care of them in this aspect."

Sim said the Human Resources Ministry also started a campaign aimed at raising awareness on the importance of mental safety for employees.

Since its launch in April, the campaign has already attracted 13,000 registrants, easily surpassing the ministry’s goal of 10,000. Of these, 4,000 people have successfully completed their training.

Through its effort, the HR Ministry hopes to further strengthen safety and health practices in Malaysian workplaces, particularly in the aspect of mental care for employees.

Implementation of the OSHA amendment

The Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Act 2022 (Act A1648) is set to take effect on 1 June. This will coincide with the official implementation of the Factories and Machinery (Repeal) Act 2022 (Act 835), as well as two new subsidiary legislations.

According to reports, the two subsidiary legislations are the Occupational Safety and Health (Plant Requiring Certificate of Fitness) Regulations 2024 and the Occupational Safety and Health (Licensed Person) Order 2024.

Prioritising the welfare of Malaysian workers

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has also unveiled plans to increase the pay of civil servants by 13%. The government has already allocated MYR 10 billion (USD 2.10 billion) to help push the minimum monthly income of public employees to MYR 2,000 (USD 422).

Aside from hiking the pay of civil servants, Ibrahim also called on private companies and other employers that are making “huge profits” to increase the pay of the workers as a way to share their gains.

The Malaysian government also launched the National Human Resources Policy Framework (NHRPF), a program designed to address key workforce and HR issues in the country.

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Topics: Life @ Work, #Wellbeing

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