All schools in Malaysia should have a Safety Officer: NIOSH

MOHAMED BASYIR

GEORGE TOWN: The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has urged the Education Ministry to appoint Safety Officers in schools throughout the country, to better manage the safety and health of students and teachers.

Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said that schools with more than 1,000 teachers and students combined should have an expert on site who can share knowledge and give necessary advice on safety inside and outside the school.

"We have seen many incidents inside and outside schools. For instance, young students drowning when they go on picnics.

"A lack of knowledge on safety could be causing it. Hence, with the appointment of a Safety Officer, teachers and students can be guided when going camping and during other activities.

"These officers must be well-trained and knowledgeable on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)," he said in a press conference after his speech during the Asian Conference on School Safety, at the Penang Chinese Girls High School here, today.

Lee also pointed out that numerous accidents at old schools have taken lives of many students.

He recalled that a student once died after football goalposts fell on him while he was playing in a school field.

There were also other cases of old ceiling fans falling all of a sudden, injuring students in classrooms.

"The (Education) Ministry must conduct a comprehensive audit on the safety of aged school buildings.

"This is to ensure that untoward incidents are avoided," he added.

Some 1,000 students from the Chinese Girls High School and the Chung Ling High School attended the conference, themed 'Building a Safe School Environment', jointly organised by the Parent-Teacher Associations of both institutions.