Union alarmed over entry of unquarantined workers from China

The Electrical Industry Workers’ Union says the Health Department should be proactive in conducting periodical checks. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A union representing electrical workers has expressed concern over the entry of workers from China, alleging that they were not quarantined in view of the Covid-19 outbreak after being allowed to enter the country.

Electrical Industry Workers’ Union general secretary Zaimi Muhamad Yusof said they were advised to take preventive measures after reporting the issue to the Health Department, adding that local workers were “suffering from psychological distress” due to the matter.

He urged the health ministry to advise employers to delay the trips of any China nationals to Malaysia or to isolate them for 14 days upon entry to protect local employees.

He said travellers from China should be quarantined for that time period to observe if they carried the virus, stressing that this was to protect the public from exposure.

“We are of the opinion that the Health Department should be proactive and conduct periodical checks on premises where these travellers from China are.

“These workers from China should be granted a leave of absence by their employers until the coronavirus in China is contained. Otherwise, the workplace is not safe,” he said in a statement today.

He called on employers to observe the law in ensuring the safety and health of workers, stressing that this was a right that should be guaranteed.

He also urged the Department of Safety and Health (DOSH) to ensure employees working with China nationals are given protective equipment and face masks to prevent infection.

“It is the employer’s responsibility under Section 15 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, which spells out the duty of every employer and self-employed person, to ensure, as far as practicable, the safety, health and welfare of all employees.

“The employer’s failure to ascertain the extent of the safety, health and welfare of its employees and the absence of risks assessment while working is in clear breach of Section 15(2)(e) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.”