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Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994


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The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), under the Ministry of Human
Resources, has been assigned the responsibility of administrating and enforcing legislation
related to occupational safety and health (osh) to ensure that safety, health and welfare of people
at work as well as others are protected from hazards resulting from occupational activities in the
various sectors which include manufacturing; mining and quarrying; construction; agriculture,
forestry and fishing; utilities (gas, electricity, water and sanitary services); transport, storage and
communication; wholesale and retail trades; hotels and restaurants; finance, insurance, real estate
and business services; public services and statutory authorities.
The department has taken all necessary actions to ensure excellent delivery system and has
achieved MS ISO 9001:2000 certification from the Department of Standards Malaysia.
Therefore, it is committed to improve its service to customers through the effective management
of its ISO system. The department carries out enforcement activities on industries governed by
the three legislations which are Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994, Factories
and Machinery Act 1967; and Petroleum Act (Safety Measure) 1984.
The National Occupational Safety and Health Excellence Award, which is the highest
appreciation by the government, is aimed at giving credit and recognition to organizations which
have a good record of achievements for occupational safety and health management at the
workplace through the safety and health program audit. Audit is used as a tool for benchmarking
a firm’s safety and health efforts against accepted standards which outlined in the MS 1722:Part
1:2005 OSH MS (Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems – Requirements). This
standard was developed by Department of Standards Malaysia and with other agencies
collaboration. It provides a means of measuring both documentation and implementation of the
safety and health program.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994 provides the legislative framework to
promote, stimulate and encourage high standards of safety and health at work. The aim is to
promote safety and health awareness, and establish effective safety organisation and performance
through self-regulation schemes designed to suit the particular industry or organisation. The
long-term goal of the Act is to create a healthy and safe working culture among all Malaysian
employees and employers.
OSHA 1994 defines the general duties of employers, employees, the self-employed, designers,
manufacturers, importers and suppliers of plant or substances. Although these duties are of a
general character, they carry a wide ranging set of responsibilities. The Act provides a
comprehensive and integrated system of law to deal with the safety and health of virtually all
people at work and the protection of the public where they may be affected by the activities of
people at work.
The general duties of employers, employees, the self-employed, designers, manufacturers,
importers and suppliers of plant or substances are clearly defined under OSHA 1994. Employers
must safeguard so far as is practicable, the health, safety and welfare of the people who work for
them. This applies in particular to the provision and maintenance of a safe plant and system of
work. Arrangements must also be made to ensure safety and health in the use, handling, storage
and transport of plant and substances. Under OSHA 1994, ‘plant’ includes any machinery,
equipment, appliance, tool and component, whilst ‘substance’ means any natural or artificial
substance whether in solid, liquid, gas, vapour or combination thereof, form.
Risks to health from the use, storage or transportation of substances must be minimised. To meet
these aims, all practicable precautions must be taken in the proper use and handling of any
substance likely to cause a risk to health. It is the duty of employers to provide the necessary
information, instruction, training and supervision in safe practices, including information on the
legal requirements. Employers need to consider the specific training needs of their organisations
with particular reference to processes with special hazards.
An employer employing 40 or more persons must establish a safety and health committee at the
workplace. The committee’s main function is to keep under review the measures taken to ensure
the safety and health of persons at the workplace and investigate any related matters arising. An
employer must notify the nearest occupational safety and health office of any accident,
dangerous occurrence, occupational poisoning or disease which has occurred or is likely to occur
at the workplace.
Some operation, installation, maintenance and dismantling of equipment and process need
competent persons. Thus, during the installation of machinery and equipment such as cranes, lifts
and local exhaust ventilation systems, competent persons are compulsory to ensure safe erection,
whilst a boilerman and a steam engineer are required to operate high risk equipment such as
boilers. Processes that use hazardous chemicals require competent persons to conduct the air
quality and personal monitoring, and a safety and health officer and an occupational health
doctor are required to ensure the proper surveillance of the workplace.
There are seven regulations under OSHA 1994 that enforced by DOSH. They are:
1. Employers’ Safety and Health General Policy Statements (Exception) Regulations, 1995
2. Control of Industrial Major Accident Hazards Regulations, 1996
3. Classification, Packaging and Labelling of Hazardous Chemicals Regulations, 1997
4. Safety and Health Committee Regulations, 1996
5. Safety and Health Officer Regulations, 1997
6. Use and Standards of Exposure of Chemicals Hazardous to Health Regulations, 2000
7. Notification of Accident, Dangerous Occurrence, Occupational Poisoning and
Occupational Disease Regulations, 2004
Contravention of some of the requirements can lead to prosecution in court. A person who fails
to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice that is served on him is liable to
prosecution, with a maximum fine of RM 50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5
years, or both.
The objective of the Factories and Machinery Act (FMA) 1967, on the other hand, is to provide
for the control of factories on matters relating to the safety, health and welfare of persons, and
the registration and inspection of machinery. Some high risk machinery such as boilers, unfired
pressure vessels, passenger lifts and other lifting equipment such as mobile cranes, tower cranes,
passenger hoists, overhead traveling cranes and gondolas, must be certified and inspected by
DOSH. All factories and general machinery must be registered with DOSH before they can be
installed and operated in Malaysia.
DOSH enforces 16 regulations under FMA 1967. They are:
1. Electric Passenger and Goods Lift Regulations, 1970
2. Fencing of Machinery and Safety Regulations, 1970
3. Notification, Certificate of Fitness and Inspection Regulations, 1970
4. Persons-In-Charge Regulations, 1970
5. Safety, Health and Welfare Regulations, 1970
6. Steam Boilers and Unfired Pressure Vessel Regulations, 1970
7. Certificates of Competency-Examinations Regulations, 1970
8. Administration Regulations, 1970
9. Compounding of Offences Rules, 1978
10. Compoundable Offences Regulations, 1978
11. Lead Regulations, 1984
12. Asbestos Process Regulations, 1986
13. Building Operations and Works of Engineering Construction (Safety) Regulations, 1986
14. Mineral Dust Regulations, 1989
15. Noise Exposure Regulations, 1989
16. Notification, Certificate of Fitness and Inspection (Amendment) Regulations, 2004
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Tags: DOSH, FMA 1967, NIOSH, Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, OSHA 1994
Category: Malaysia Labour Law
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1. Clayton Hopke says:


January 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm
i always like reading articles here. thanks for providing useful content
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