PETALING JAYA: A Bangladeshi worker at a Top Glove factory in Ipoh lost his hand in an accident yesterday.
The general worker’s hand was severed after it was caught in a rotating shaft towards the end of his 13-hour shift. He received first aid at the factory and was taken to hospital.
In a statement to FMT, Top Glove confirmed an “incident” had occurred at its Ipoh factory at about 5.45am and said the worker was reported to be in stable condition.
“The company is moving quickly towards establishing stringent and added remedial measures to continue promoting the wellbeing of its workers and making sure they are kept safe from harm and injury,” it said.
One of the worker’s colleagues told FMT they were under pressure to keep up with the rising demand for medical gloves during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Some accidents go unreported,” the worker, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed.
Top Glove has enjoyed record profits this year on the back of increased demand for medical gloves, and its quarterly profit of RM1.29 billion for the fourth quarter ending Aug 31 was nearly 18 times higher than the RM74.17 million it posted in the corresponding quarter last year.
However, the Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association last month said the industry was struggling to meet demand because of a worker shortage, which had cost about RM7.6 billion in lost export revenue this year alone.
A Thomson Reuters Foundation expose in 2018 uncovered some workers working overtime at Top Glove, where they often logged 12-hour shifts and clocked 90 to 120 hours of overtime a month.
Similar allegations have cropped up during the pandemic, and in a statement earlier this month, Top Glove said it complied with Malaysian labour laws that stipulated a maximum of 104 hours overtime a month and one rest day a week.
The worker’s colleague said he was among those working the night shift from 7pm to 8.30am yesterday. The shift includes three 30-minute breaks.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress’ (MTUC) Penang branch has called on the Department of Safety and Health (DOSH) to investigate the incident, stating it was their view that industrial accidents were usually caused by employers’ negligence in providing a safe workplace.
“As we are given to understand, all hazardous operations – involving rotating blades, shafts, etc – need to be installed with adequate preventive safeguards such as isolation sensory switch systems as a precaution to avert any unwanted mishaps such as the case in question,” said the division’s secretary, K Veeriah, in a statement.