KUALA LUMPUR: The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) wants a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the ineffectiveness of the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).
“For the sake of construction workers and the public, it’s vital that DOSH changes the way it handles safety checks,” said the NGO in a statement.
DOSH’s safety checks may have been a sham all along, added CAP President SM Mohamed Idris in the statement. “If not, DOSH’s safety checks may have become an enabler instead of a deterrent.”
If the body has really been conducting safety checks at construction sites as religiously as it claims, argued the CAP President, there could not be so many unlicensed tower cranes in operation and illegal tower crane workers.
“This puts the public and construction site workers in danger.”
If the safety checks are not a sham, he continued, “then the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of conducting safety checks every 15 months was just not sufficient”.
“This is something we have been saying a long time.”
Given the time between checks, errant contractors have 15 months to flout the law, he alleged. “Again, DOSH’s scheduled safety checks may have become an enabler instead of a deterrent.”
The CAP Chief was commenting on DOSH reporting that it has sealed tower cranes for breaking various safety and maintenance measures. “Apparently, DOSH found crane workers using fake competency licences,” noted Idris. “Yet, it claims it’s carrying out safety checks every 15 months.”
According to an English daily, pointed out Idris, DOSH found 47 tower crane workers with fake competency licences in Johor alone. The body has a list of 159 competent operators with 273 tower cranes in operation as at September 6. DOSH checked 156 tower cranes in three states and one federal territory, as at September 8, and sealed 43 of them for various violations.
As an immediate measure, he reiterated his call that DOSH take note of several areas: decrease the time between safety checks; increase the number of technical employees; and make safety checks random.
“DOSH also needs to crackdown on construction sites in other places besides Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor and Penang,” urged Idris.
After the tragic death of Joice Chin Khoon Sing, who was killed when a tower crane hook fell on her car as she was driving, DOSH announced it would crack down on construction sites.
The body promised to check whether tower cranes were fit and that tower crane workers were legal.