Safety crackdown: Malaysia to hold developers and designers accountable for accidents

After a spate of construction site deaths in Malaysia, the country’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) will set new rules holding developers and designers responsible for safety, not just contractors.

The decision comes after four workers died in June when a retaining wall collapsed in a landslide at a resort in Batu Ferringhi, Penang and, also in June, four were injured when a building platform under construction collapsed in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur. 

In May, two workers died in the collapse of a multi-storey car park under construction at the Gombak LRT Terminal, Kuala Lumpur. 

"We are concerned over the number of deaths occurring at construction sites not only in Penang but in other states as well. So, we have now set guidelines for everybody to be responsible not only the contractors but also the owners, developers as well as the designers," said DOSH director-general Omar Mat Piah at the the Penang International Construction Conference on 18 July, reports Malaysian news site, The Sun Daily.

He added: "We have guidelines that are mostly voluntary, but it will probably become mandatory in the first quarter of next year."

The aim of the new guidelines would be to raise awareness among developers, designers and contractors of the need to make construction sites safe for workers and the public.

Last month the chief executive of Malaysia’s Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), which has statutory powers to investigate accidents, said recent deaths could have been avoided if basic guidelines had been followed.

"We are alarmed and concerned by the worrying number of construction accidents recently," said Dato’ Ir. Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid in a press statement on 28 June.

"In the past few weeks, there have been three major construction site accidents. In most cases, worksite incidents could have been avoided if the proper guidelines, procedures and safety systems are implemented. These incidents are a serious reminder why it is absolutely crucial for industry players to commit to ensuring safety measures across the construction value chain in Malaysia."

Image: ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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