Over 50 schools nationwide participate in OSH programme: NIOSH

KRISTY INUS

SANDAKAN: More than 50 schools nationwide have so far participated in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) school programme – an initiative to help prevent accidents on school premises.

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye attributes the high participation rate to the strong collaboration between the Human Resources Ministry and the Education Ministry, and anticipates that more schools will join the programme.

“Since the Memorandum of Understanding between the two ministries was signed in 2015, several schools and institutions in Sabah have also participated in the programme.

“They are Kolej Vokasional Tawau; Institut Sinaran (Kota Kinabalu), SMK Benoni (Papar); MRSM Tun Mohammad Fuad Stephens (Sandakan); SM St. Patrick (Tawau); and SMK Merpati, which saw the programme launched today,” he said during the launch event at SMK Merpati here.

He said the Human Resources Ministry has advised all schools with at least 40 staff to set up an OSH committee, as required in the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.

“The OSH committee could help reduce the number of accidents in schools, as they would practise the Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control (HIRARC) concept," he stressed.

Based on the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH)’s records, 31 school-related accidents were reported in the past five years, which included fatal incidents in which football goal posts and ceiling fans fell on students.

There were also incidents of students coming into contact with chemicals such as mercury in science labs.

Lee believes that the actual number of accidents is higher, as some schools might have not reported cases that they considered as small.

He believes most past incidents could have been avoided if schools had adopted good OSH practices and conducted regular safety audits, as promoted by NIOSH.