Towards world-class safety standards

Construction is often seen as a 3D sector—dirty, dangerous and difficult—and this seems to be proven true with numerous recent reports of site accidents and fatalities in Malaysia. What can be done to transform the sector’s safety record under the Construction Industry Transformation Programme 2016–2020 (CITP)?

In 2017, more than 4,000 accidents and 180 fatalities were recorded at construction sites in Malaysia—three times higher than those recorded in other industries. What are the latest figures and trends from recent years? What are the Construction Industry Development Board’s (CIDB) targets in terms of reducing fatalities?
The CITP sets out a KPI of a 50 per cent reduction in worksite fatalities by 2020, from 10.94 per 100,000 workers in 2015.

However, the fatality rate has risen to 12.9 persons per 100,000 workers in 2017, according to statistics by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

Since the start of the year until October 2018, the construction industry had recorded the highest number of fatalities —81—from investigated occupational accidents.

This is indeed a concern for CIDB, and we are committed to drive proactive measures and cohesive action to lower fatality rates in the construction industry.

Why has there been a rise in accident and fatality rates in the construction industry? Who should be responsible for safety?
In most cases, if not all, these fatalities could have been avoided if the proper guidelines, procedures and safety systems had been implemented.

As outlined in the CITP, the poor health and safety record can be attributed to low enforcement efforts, as well as low level of safety awareness among construction workers. Furthermore, there is an underlying misconception that occupational safety and health protection is an unnecessary expenditure.

Adequate training can help avoid injuries and the tragic loss of life. Contractors must ensure that workers involved have a solid overall understanding of the site and other work taking place around them.

Chief Executive, Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) Prior to his appointment as CIDB chief executive in March 2016, Dato’ Ahmad’Asri has served in various capacities in the organisation for the past 17 years, including as senior general manager of the Management Sector.

Dato’ Ahmad ‘Asri has been in public service for more than three decades, including as a mechanical engineer in the Public Works Department for 13 years. He also served as the president for the Professional Services Development Corporation (PSDC) for three years, where he was responsible for developing the capability and capacity of the professional services sector in facing with the challenges of liberalisation.

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