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Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak project complies with DOSH guidelines on heat stress

Tuesday, 28 August 2018, Kuching: The Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak project fully complies with the guidelines issued by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) which deals with heat stress situations at the work place.

With more than 9,000 workers at sites across the 11 works packages, keeping heat stress at bay is one of the concerns in the Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak project especially with the current hot weather spell engulfing the country currently.

In the construction of this Highway project, the health and welfare of workers is a top priority.

LBU Health and Safety Manager Abdul Rahman Kadir said while there had been no cases reported on heat stress so far since the project started in 2015, LBU being the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) had always emphasised on the worker’s health and welfare.

“In the daily toolbox briefing, all site workers are reminded of safety measures which they have to comply with. This includes protecting themselves from heat stress.

“We never compromise on workers’ welfare when it comes to their well-being.

“So far, we have not come across any case of heat stress affecting our site workers,” he said.

Abdul Rahman said should the weather get too hot to handle, then a ‘Stop work’ order would be issued when there is a directive from the authorities.

However, he said no such order had been issued so far.

In a media report last Sunday, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) was quoted as saying that many employers and workers in Malaysia remained relatively unaware of the dangers of working under the sun despite some places having seen temperatures hit 37°C last week.

DOSH said its enforcement activities and definition of heat stress situations showed that various workplaces had a high risk of machinery or work processes that generated high amounts of heat.

“The awareness among employers and workers on the exposure to heat stress situations is low and has to be overcome,” it was quoted as saying.

DOSH came up with guidelines for employers to deal with heat stress situations at workplaces in 2016, which should be in place in all sectors, including construction.

“Employers are requested to follow and adopt the guidelines as their source of reference as part of their requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.

“If found to have flouted the law, they can be fined under Section 15,” it said.

Among the guidelines are ensuring installing air-conditioning units, changing work process, equipping workers with protective gear such as cooled vests and reflective suits, as well as making sure workers work in groups or with a partner during situations with high heat-stress risk.