OSH Amendment Act 2022: Malaysia Raises the Bar for Employee Safety

In 2022, Malaysia took a significant step towards creating safer work environments for employees nationwide with the introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Act 2022 (OSH Amendment Act 2022). This act updates and expands upon the original Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1994, addressing the evolving nature of work and aiming to create a more robust safety framework.

Why was the OSH Amendment Act 2022 put in place?

There were several reasons why the OSH Act 1994 of Malaysia required an amendment in 2022:

  1. Evolving Workplace Landscape: The nature of work in Malaysia has changed since 1994. New industries and technologies have emerged, and the OSH Act needed to adapt to address potential safety and health hazards in these changing environments.

  2. Limited Coverage: The original Act only applied to specific sectors like construction and manufacturing. The amendment aimed to expand this coverage to encompass all workplaces in Malaysia, ensuring a more comprehensive approach to workplace safety.

  3. Strengthening Employee Protections: The 1994 Act offered limited protections for employee rights regarding safety. The amendments were designed to empower employees by granting them the right to remove themselves from imminent danger if employers fail to take action.

  4. Emphasis on Risk Management: The original Act placed less emphasis on proactive risk assessments. The 2022 amendments aim to strengthen employer responsibility for safety and health by mandating risk assessments for work activities.

  5. Increased Penalties: Penalties for non-compliance with safety regulations were generally lower under the 1994 Act. The amendments aimed to deter violations by introducing stricter penalties.

  6. Modernization of Legislation: The Occupational Safety and Health Act had been in place for nearly 30 years. The amendments in 2022 aimed to modernize the legislation to reflect current best practices and address emerging workplace safety concerns.

Overall, the OSH Amendment Act 2022 reflects a desire to create a more robust safety framework for Malaysian workplaces. It emphasizes a more preventative approach to safety, strengthens employee rights, and holds employers more accountable for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.

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