Enhance safety at boarding schools: Niosh
Published on: Friday, September 21, 2018

Labuan: More focus should be given to the safety and health aspect at boarding schools since students and most of their teachers and support staff are at the premises all the time.National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the situation in boarding schools was different from normal schools where the students would return home after the classes and co-curricular activities have ended.

"Given the enormous responsibility of the boarding school management, I would like to call for a more efficient occupational safety and health (OSH) management system to prevent any untoward incident and illness at their premises," he said.

According to him, the school management should set up the Safety and Health Committee and adopt the concept of "Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control" or HIRARC.

He reiterated that if HIRARC concept is being practised, teachers and students will definitely understand that risky activities will cause accident if not properly managed.

"Boarding schools like SM Sains Labuan should get more attention because students are either in the school building or dormitory most of the time," he said after launching the "OSH in School" programme at SM Sains Labuan, here, Thursday.

Also present were Niosh Sabah and Federal Territory of Labuan Regional Manager Wan Sarman Sakan, SM Sains Labuan Alumni Association (Samudera) President Suhaili Dikar and Labuan OSH Department Director Radin Hanida Radin Harun.

Lee said under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994, the school administration as an employer should assume responsibility to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all parties at their premises.

Under OSHA 1994, employers' responsibilities also include implementing safety and health policies and ensuring that employees and others at the workplace are not exposed to safety and health risks.

He said accidents at schools were often reported, including tragic cases that involved teachers and students like falling from school building, hit by a goal post, fires and gas leaks.

At the same time, various activities could pose danger, including the use of equipment for welding, cutting or drilling and when handling toxic and flammable chemicals in the science laboratories.

He added that it was timely for hazard analysis to be done for every activity in schools which involve teachers, support staff and students.

For educational institutions with risky activities, he said there is a need to implement the OSH Management System standards such as the Malaysian Standards MS1722 or ISO 45001, which is the first global OSH management system standard.

Lee also called on more private companies, government agencies and non-governmental organisations to work with Niosh to implement OSH awareness programmes in schools nationwide. - Iffah Dilaney


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