I Refer to the suggestion by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye on the appointment of safety and health officers for schools with more than 1,000 teachers and students.
It is important that occupational safety and health (OSH) be prioritised at schools to protect our children.
The Education Ministry has implemented the 3K programme to manage cleanliness, safety and health in schools.
However, a more comprehensive OSH management programme, that meets the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, is needed in schools to prevent accidents and illnesses from impacting students, teachers, support staff and the public.
The incidence of occupational accidents and illnesses may not be that high in schools, but it is critical to manage the risks because children are among those impacted.
In the spirit of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a self-regulating mechanism should be incorporated into school OSH management programmes.
The responsibility for OSH management in schools should be borne by teachers, supporting staff, students and parents.
In cultivating OSH culture at schools, systematic approaches with realistic objectives should be established.
There will be challenges in developing OSH management programme in schools due to constraints in terms of budget, personnel and time.
Therefore, it is essential that everyone involved in OSH management realises the importance of preventing occupational accidents and illnesses in schools.
Collaboration among Niosh, the Education Ministry and the Occupational Safety and Health Department, with realistic objectives and time frames, is crucial in raising awareness and promoting OSH culture in schools.
All responsible parties, including students and parents, should have a sense of accountability in providing a safer and healthier school environment.
MOHD HAFIIDZ JAAFAR,
School of Industrial Technology,
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang