Employers should ensure safety of staff on duty during GE14: Niosh

KUANTAN: Employers have been advised to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of their staff who will be assigned duties for the upcoming 14th General Election (GE14).

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said that apart from the Election Commission staff and government agencies, it also applied to media personnel who were vulnerable to various situations that might endanger their safety while covering the polls.

He said media workers, whether journalists or photographers from the print or electronic media, or portals were among those who would be busy in the election providing news to the public as the situation unfolds.

"During the election period, there may be some untoward incidents requiring coverage or pictures to be taken ... in the event of any such incident like stone throwing or the like, media practitioners should know how to protect themselves.

"We hope such incidents do not take place in our matured society, but sometimes things get out of hand due to emotions running high. There should be proper care of election workers and media personnel by providing appropriate personal protective equipment," he said.

Lee said this at a press conference after officiating the state-level Occupational Safety and Health Seminar at the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Bukit Rangin in Pahang, here today.

He said the employer's obligation to ensure the safety of workers was enshrined in Section 15 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, while for the media there were guidelines on the website of the Department of Occupational Safety and Health.

In another development, Lee suggested that schools and educational institutions including tahfiz centres over 15 years old, undergo annual safety audits to ensure the buildings were safe for students.

He said the safety audit should also serve as a practice for schools which were more than 30 years old, especially in the aspect of wiring because bad maintenance could pose fire risks.

"Niosh is willing to assist in implementing safety audits but should be done with the permission of the Education Ministry ... this can also be done in collaboration with other agencies such as the Public Works Department," he said. — Bernama