KUCHING, Oct 25 — Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing has asked contractors undertaking state government projects to prioritise workplace safety to avoid fatalities.

He said safety should not be at stake in order to meet other contractual requirements, including project quality or rushing to meet completion deadlines.

“Analysis of past work-site accidents with fatalities showed that most of these causes are human-related, besides machineries’ faults or other factors,” he said at a dinner for participants of the state Public Works Department’s (PWD) safety forum last night.

Masing, who is also the state Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation, said it has been evident that unsafe acts from workers causing unsafe environments on work sites has been a contributing factors for most reported work site accident cases.

He asked the state PWD, being the premier engineering agency, to take the lead by enforcing stringent compliances to all applicable Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) rules and regulations.

“Safety and health elements should be included early in your initial project planning and designs, in project administrations and implementations,” he said.

The deputy chief minister said contracting partners should exhibit their fullest commitments in enhancing HSE if they wish to continue participating in the development of state government projects.

He said these include complying with all legislative requirements, enhanced work site HSE and improved workers’ welfare on-site.

Masing also wanted project implementers and law enforcers, like the Department of Occupational Safety and Health and Construction Industry Development Board, to conduct more on-site inspections to identify potential risks early.

“Appropriate controls or risks mitigation could then be taken early, to reduce the adverse impacts of any possible accidents, if not entirely eliminated,” he said, adding all work site accidents must be reported, investigated and analysed.

Source: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/safety-top-priority-sarawak-dcm-tells-government-contractors