Move underscores Malaysia’s commitment to aligning occupational safety and health practices with global standards, says MEF president

Ratification of ILO convention lauded

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has congratulated Human Resources Minister Steven Sim on his presence in Geneva, Switzerland to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 155.

Its president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman (pic) said the convention mandates the adoption of a coherent national occupational safety and health (OSH) policy.

“It outlines actions to be taken by the government and employers to enhance workplace safety and health.

“The fact that Sim handed over the country’s ratification of the convention to ILO director-general Gilbert F. Houngbo is a historical moment for Malaysian workers as they can now be assured of a higher standard of workplace safety and health.”

Speaking to theSun from Geneva, where he is attending the International Labour Conference, Syed Hussain said the ratification also underscores Malaysia’s commitment to aligning its OSH practices with global standards.

He said it reflects the collaboration between the government, employers, unions and international bodies to prioritise the well-being of the workforce.

Syed Hussain said MEF has always advocated that employers prioritise the safety and health of workers and raised awareness about the statutory duty of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Osha) to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

He said ratifying the convention is timely and coincides with significant amendments to Osha which, effective June 1, expanded its applicability to all workplaces in the country.

“Our obligations under Osha, including the need to implement a workplace safety and health policy under Section 16, will now apply to all workplaces, including public services and statutory authorities.”

Syed Hussain said Osha 1994 established the legal framework for Malaysia, with its objectives including securing the safety, health and welfare of workers against risks arising from workplace activities.

It also covered promoting an environment that adapted to the physiological and psychological needs of workers and providing a regulatory framework to maintain or improve safety and health standards.

He said the OSH (Amendment) Act 2022, which received royal assent on March 4 the same year and came into force on June 1 this year, has introduced substantial changes.

“The scope of the Act has now expanded to reinforce the philosophy of self-regulation, in which those working with and creating risks share responsibility for safety and health management.”

Syed Hussain urged all OSH practitioners to familiarise themselves with the latest amendments to the OSH Act, which emphasises self-regulation.

He said the Act was first introduced in 1967 as the Factories and Machinery Act and later evolved into Osha 1994, which indicates a long history of improving workplace safety through government and self-regulation mechanisms.

Syed Hussain said in conjunction with these developments, MEF organised a conference attended by some 200 OSH practitioners to facilitate discussions with various representatives.

They included those from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Social Security Organisation, ILO specialists, union leaders and safety professionals, who discussed how OSH self-regulation aligns with the new legislative framework.

“As the apex employer organisation in Malaysia, MEF is dedicated to promoting the rights and interests of employers and contributing to national responses to global standards outlined in the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights at Work.

“Hence, we believe OSH is crucial for business sustainability.

“Neglecting it can negatively impact overall business performance since it is not just a legal requirement but a shared responsibility between employers and employees.”