‘Cut taxes on safety gear’
New Straits Times Online, 2 September 2014
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has suggested that the 2015 Budget should contain proposals for helping industries promote occupational safety and health at the workplace.
Its chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, said this could be done through granting tax rebates for imported Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to make them more affordable to employers for use by their employees.
“Imported PPEs, such as full body harnesses, earmuffs, earplugs, N95 masks and eyewear, are subject to import duty of between five and 20 per cent, besides the 10 per cent sales tax.
“Any tax rebate for PPEs which are not available locally will be an incentive which the government can provide to encourage greater use of PPEs to promote safety and health at the workplace,” he said in a statement yesterday.
PPEs are designed to protect workers from workplace injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards.
PPEs include a variety of devices and garments, such as goggles, overalls, gloves, vests, earplugs, respirators, safety shoes and others.
Lee said the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994 required the use of personal PPEs to reduce employees’ exposure to hazards at the workplace, but many employers have complained about the high price of imported PPEs
Some employers also turn to cheaper alternatives with lower quality, which, said Lee, was not advisable, as it would not offer the same amount of protection.
NIOSH has also called on the government to provide incentives to local manufacturers to produce good quality PPEs.
“They have to follow guidelines set by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health or meet Sirim standards to ensure the quality of such products,” he said, adding that it was also important to train employees on the use of PPEs.