Thursday, November 26, 2020

44pc of over 5,700 screened at Top Glove factories tested positive for Covid-19? Government's fault? When business more important than health?

Still no legal obligation for Malaysian employers to keep workers safe from Covid-19 - Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994(OSHA 1994) is the law that imposes legal obligation on employers/owners of workplaces to keep workers safe from accidents and occupational diseases - and that must include Covid-19.

Now, this OSHA 1994 does not even have a definition on occupational diseases, which is VERY important, so that both employers and workers know exactly what diseases that workers have to be protected from at their workplaces. SOCSO Act lists occupational diseases, and there Covid-19 is covered - but SOCSO, is about the when workers will be covered in terms of treatment, etc > it is not the law that imposes obligations on employers to keep workers safe from these diseases.

SIMPLE - In the Interpretation/Definition section of OSHA 1994, it would have been simple to just add the definition of 'occupational disease' as being the same as provided for in the SOCSO Act - and then, it will be clear that employers need to do what is needed to keep workers safe from Covid-19 too and other occupational diseases.

MCO in March - when a worker infected, then all workers stay at home self quarantine for 14 days before returning to work...NOW, money more important - so even when a Covid-19 infection happens ... they still work without that 14-day quarantine...and hence, so many more workers get infected...

So sad when the government prioritizes economy and business rather than health of people...

Still Malaysia does not have REGULATIONS/Laws that stipulate what must be done in workplaces to keep workers safe from Covid-19 - that should have been done by the Ministry of Human Resources. With such law, non-compliance is a crime...but all we seem to have is mere 'recommendations', 'guidelines', 'SOPs' - where if there are breaches, no punishment?

MOH says 13,000 workers at Top Glove factories, so far 44pc of over 5,700 screened tested positive for Covid-19

Malaysian Armed Forces personnel install barbed wire fencing at Top Glove’s male and female staff dormitories in Klang in November 16, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Malaysian Armed Forces personnel install barbed wire fencing at Top Glove’s male and female staff dormitories in Klang in November 16, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) said today that it was informed around 13,000 people work at 28 of Top Glove Corporation Bhd’s factories, and authorities are planning to screen all of them following the rise of cases in the Teratai cluster.

In its daily statement, it said that the previous enhanced movement control order (EMCO) mandated on company workers’ dormitories had only involved around 5,900 people, with 43.8 per cent infection, or 2,524 positive Covid-19 cases among 5,767 tested.

“The information received from the factory management found that the total of workers are around 13,000 people working in 28 different factory buildings,” Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in the statement.

“The Klang District Health Office is cooperating with the management for the planning to screen all these workers.”

MOH said so far those found positive were 164 locals and 2,360 foreigners, all within the age of two to 68.

“Most of the cases from this cluster are workers in the area of Meru, Klang,” he said.

In a separate statement, Top Glove said 16 of its facilities in Meru have temporarily stopped production since November 18, while 12 others have been operating at much reduced capacities.

“We are committed to proceed with the MOH recommended Covid-19 screening test for the balance workers and staff of our factories in Meru, Klang,” it said.

“The safety and well-being of our employees and local community is our utmost priority towards containing the situation and to flatten the Covid-19 curve.”

This comes as the National Security Council (NSC) said today it has decided to close the factories of glove manufacturer Top Glove Corporation Bhd in stages, following a spike in Covid-19 positive cases among its workers.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said prior to this, the government had already announced the implementation of the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) for the dormitories of the male and female workers at Top Glove’s factory in Klang.

Today, the Teratai cluster recorded a whopping 1,067 new Covid-19 cases, making it 76.6 per cent of the country’s yet another record high of 1,884 new cases. - Malay Mail, 23/11/2020


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