Set stringent rules to ensure public safety
New Straits Time Online, 05 Mei 2016
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE - Chairman, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
A crane hauling the car that plunged into a sewage hole on Tuesday.The incidents highlights a lack of adequate safety practices at worksites.
THE incident in which a car plunged into a 12m-deep construction hole in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday highlights a lack of safety practices at worksites by contractors.
The driver, an 86-year-old man who was travelling with his foreign maid, lost control of the car, crashed through the flimsy safety barriers and plunged into the uncovered hole.
The pipe-jacking pit is managed by a contractor appointed by Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) for the laying of underground sewer pipes.
Although it is a freak incident, it could have been avoided if the contractor had installed concrete barriers instead of the plastic ones.
The hole should have been covered and barricaded.
Fortunately, there was no loss of life as water did not fill the pit.
However, the senior citizen was traumatised and sustained injuries, while his vehicle was damaged. If there had been a death, it is a needless one.
Incidents of such nature could have been prevented if contractors have a safety management plan at worksites.
This is another typical case of roadworks contractors not paying attention to public safety.
It is observed that most of the worksites along the roads do not have safety measures with flimsy barricades and inadequate warning signage.
Sadly, the safety of the public seems not to be in the minds of those working at the worksites.
As a national sewerage company, IWK has to ensure that its contractors comply with the Industry Code of Practice for Safe Work.
In view of ongoing construction works in Klang Valley and parts of the country, contractors must adopt a more responsible attitude when it comes to public safety.
Contractors need to step up efforts to ensure public safety is given priority not only at the worksites but also in adjacent areas.
It is time for all contractors at construction sites to have better supervision of their worksites and prevent a recurrence of the incident.
I call on the authorities to impose stringent rules before permitting road works or construction activities to be carried out.
For too long, there has been a lot of lip service to safety and health issues but in practice, it leaves much to be desired. Many contractors have gotten away but it is time for the authorities to go hard on them as the safety and health of the public must never be compromised.