Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Safety Policy A Must In Schools

A form five student was killed recently in a bizarre incident in the study room of his boarding school when the wall collapsed on him at SMK Datuk Harun in Tanjung Karang, Selangor.

This is not the first time such a fatal accident has occurred in a school.
Over the years, a number of fatal accidents had taken place in schools involving innocent students.

In the wake of the latest tragedy, it is all the more urgent for the Education Ministry to emphasise and carry out a safety and health policy for all schools.

A matter of utmost concern is the quality of construction of the school wall by the contractor concerned.

The tragic accident should be thoroughly investigated and action be taken against those responsible.

The subject of "safe schools" should not be confined only to aspects concerning indiscipline, crime, threats to the safety of students, bullying and gangster-like behaviour but also to matters concerning the safety of school buildings, classrooms, equipment and all amenities.

In this regard, there is a need for schools to be aware of the existence and importance of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 1994 and its application to educational institutions.

The application of the Act to the schools as "the place of work" aims to make all schools safe and healthy places of work for teachers, students and visitors alike.

In line with the provisions in the Act, it is the duty of employers (the school management) to formulate a safety and health policy, implement risk prevention through safety and health inspection and safety and health auditing to identify shortcomings and to decide on remedial measures.

Ensuring that all schools and educational institutions take an active interest in safety and health will also benefit the students who can learn more about safety and health and be safety conscious from an early age.

This will benefit them greatly when they enter the workforce.

Taken from The Star Online 7 October 2008
By Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye

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