KEY AMENDMENTS TO THE OCCUPATIONAL AND SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT 1994 (OSHA)

Christina Erin Ong
Legal Associate at Raj, Ong & Yudistra

In conjunction with Labour Day – I would like to share some key amendments from the Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Act 2022 which will come into force on 1st June 2024.

Key points regarding employers’ duties and rights of an employee at the workplace

What’s on the news?

On 28th April 2024, Human Resources Minister, Steven Sim Chee Keong announced that he had signed the gazette to implement the enforcement and implementation of the OSHA Amendment Act 2022, after a delay of 2 years.

The amendments are set to come into effect on 1st June 2024.

What is the purpose of the OSHA?

This can be found in the preamble of the Act, which reads as follows:-

An Acr to makefurther provisions for securing the safety, health and welfare of persons at work, for protecting others against risks to safety or health in connection with the activities of persons at work, to establish the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, and fot matters connected therewith.

Long story short – it is to protect all persons at workplaces, in selected industries as specified within the act, against health and safety risks that may arise at their workplaces.

Who does the OSHA apply to?

S. 1 of the OSHA has now been amended to apply to all places of work throughout Malaysia, including in the public services and statutory authorities.

It shall no longer be exclusively to the work that is specified in the 1st Schedule.

Section 18A of the OSHA: Duties of a Principal

S. 18A of the OSHA imposes a duty onto the principal to take practicable and necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of any contractor, subcontractor, and any employee that is employed by said contractor and subcontractor.

This applies only to cases where the said employee/contractor/subcontractor works under the direction of the principal, in the manner of how the work is carried out.

How does a principal those ‘practicable steps’ for its employees?

Among others, S. 18A of the Act provides that an employer is obligated to ensure:-

  • Maintaining plants and work systems which are practicable, safe and pose no health risks;
  • Making arrangements by allocating sufficient time, budget and resources to ensure that the safety in terms of construction;
  • Providing sufficient information, instruction, supervision and training to its employee/contractor/subcontractor;
  • Providing and maintaining a working environment that is practicable, safe and without risks to health;
  • Developing and implementing procedures to deal with emergencies which may arise at the workplace.

What happens if I breach any of the following provisions?

Reference is made to S. 19 of the OSHA.

In light of the amendment act – the threshold for fines has increased from RM50,000.00 to RM500,000.00.

Hence, a person who contravenes S. 18A of the OSHA may be liable to:-

  • A fine not exceeding RM500,000.00; or
  • imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years;
  • or both.

S. 26A of the OSHA: Rights of Employees to Remove Themselves from danger

The insertion of S. 26A in the OSHA in the 2022 Amendment Act gives employees to remove himself from any danger which may arise at his place of work.

This is on the premise that the employee has reasonable justification to believe that there is imminent danger that may exist a his place of work.

Imminent danger is defined under the act as a place which may cause a serious risk of death or bodily injury to a person that is caused by the workplace.

Additionally, an employee who removes himself from the danger – shall be protected against undue consequences and shall not be discriminated against.

This is beneficial in many ways; this encourages employees to voice out when it comes to safety at the workplace, hopefully leading to less frequent accidents at the workplace!

Thank you for reading!

Hope this has helped you learn something new 🙂

Should you have any queries or would like to know more about this, do reach out to us at Raj, Ong & Yudistra.

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