8 Roles of Employer under Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994

Nowadays, safety and health are everyone’s concern. Since pandemic COVID-19, awareness on safety and health among public increase. It is no longer limited to workplace as everyone is responsible for their own safety and health.  

Everyone is making effort to curb COVID-19. Everyone is practicing social distancing, maintain personal hygiene and avoid close conversation at workplace and other places.

Choosing the right workplace means there is a lot of criteria you need to consider. It is not only limited to salary and benefits anymore. It is about being able to work in safe and healthy condition. Therefore, employers are responsible for safety and health of their employees. It is by providing best working environment to their employees. Do you know the roles of employer at the workplace?


What are the roles of employer?

Generally, employers are responsible to provide a safe working condition at the workplace. As an employer, these are eight roles of employer highlighted under OSHA 1994.

  1. Ensure safety, health and welfare at the workplace
  2. Employ a competent person as Safety and Health Officer
  3. Formulate safety and health policy
  4. Minimize and prevent exposure of risks to the employees
  5. Notify any dangerous occurrences.
  6. Establish safety and health committee (SHC)
  7. Consult Safety and Health Committee in safety and health aspects
  8. Provide adequate information, training, instruction and supervision

Employers are responsible to ensure safety, health and wellbeing of every person present at the premises.

1. Ensure safety, health and welfare at the workplace

It is the duty of employer to ensure plant are maintained and safe systems of work present at the workplace. Regular maintenance of plant and safe systems of work ensure the safety and protect employees while working. By means, employer are also responsible for everyone at the workplace including visitors. Therefore, it is important to ensure safety and health condition at workplace.

2. Employ a competent person as Safety and Health Officer

Employers need to employ a competent person as a Safety and Health Officer  (SHO) at the workplace if their industries is classified in Occupational Safety and Health (Safety and Health Officer) Order 1997

Competent person will assist employer in ensuring compliance to OSHA 1994 and Its Regulations. SHO is there to assist in implementation of safe conduct of work at the workplace. Take note that employers will be penalized if they failed to do so.

3. Formulate safety and health policy

Safety and health policy are developed to demonstrate full commitment of employers to health and safety at workplace. Generally, it is a fundamental to create a safe workplace. It displays top management strategic direction in complying to the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994. 

Besides that, purpose of safety and health policy is to outline safe work practices and procedures to be obey to in the workplace. As “it takes two hands to clap”, it is everyone’s responsibilities to comply when it is communicated at workplace.

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4. Minimise and prevent exposure of risks

As an employer, it will be his or her duty to ensure safe working arrangement in the workplace. Employer is responsible to minimize and prevent exposure of risk at workplace. Identification of hazards and risks prevent any occupational accident at the workplace. This would ensure all work is conducted safely without risking employees’ health and safety.

5. Notify any dangerous occurrences.

In case of any dangerous occurrences of accidents, employers are responsible to report, investigate and implement future action related. Under Occupational Safety and Health Notification of Accident, Dangerous Occurence, Occupational Poisoning and Occupational Disease) Regulations 2004 (NADOPOD), employers need to notify nearest Department of Occupational Safety and Health office of accident, dangerous occurrence as classified in Second Schedule, occupational poisoning and occupational disease classified Third Schedule of the regulations. 

Guidelines on NADOPOD can be accessed here.


6. Establish safety and health committee (SHC)

Under OSHA 1994, it is the duty of employer to establish a Safety and Health Committee at workplace if there are 40 or more persons employed at the workplace or as instructed. They are important in assisting in improving safety and health conditions at workplace. 

Above all, they can bring the management and employees representative together in management of safety and health at workplace.

Safety and Health Committee serve as the medium of communication between management and employees. It is important to set on how they work together to clearly communicate information or any issues. Therefore, effective consultation between both parties is needed. It is to ensure cooperation in promoting and developing measures needed in implementing safety and health. The bigger the corporation that you lead, more issues to be handled and solved.


8. Provide adequate information, training, instruction and supervision

Employees will be able to perform their duties and tasks competently with appropriate information, training, instruction and supervision. For an instance, employers are responsible to ensure that employees understand on potential hazards, standard operating procedures (SOP) and controls measure to be taken. They need to understand and aware on nature of the work and risks associated with it. Knowledge on these elements will eliminate and minimise risks in the facility.

As a conclusion, being an employer means that you are legally required to keep your employees safe at workplace. Safety at workplace is everyone’s concern and employers or business owners are the one to ensure their employees are working in safe condition. 

Greater degree of authority require greater degree of responsibilities in ensuring safety and health at the workplace. By providing safe working condition within the workplace, employees are motivated. 


Because they feel protected while working.

Image via Pixabay

HSE Insights, Issue 11, October 2020

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