December 13, 2017

Safety First On The Job Is of Great Importance

  • By Su Thet Hmu  (Mayangone)
Scavengers at work in Jade Mine Area.  Photo: Thaung Nyunt

Signboards which read, “Safety First,” are in fact ubiquities almost everywhere we go. Especially, we have ever seen such signboards at most construction sites and at some factories. Why is safety first on the job that important?No one can guess when and which kinds of accidents will happen to us. Man-made incidents, failure of machinery and natural disasters can claim our lives and cause many destructions. Especially, at construction sites, mining industries of minerals and jewels, communication works, sewing factories, natural gas works and various kinds of sector where hard laborers earn for their living, hidden dangers are threatening them invisibly. Here, I would like to recount an event which took place at the gold mining situated in the Maikai police station compound at Namtaw Sanpya village, Hommalin township in Khamti district, Sagaing Region. While digging up the gold mining, gold mining workers lost their lives, due to the landslide. Why did such casualties happen on the job? On study of the cause, it has been found that these accidents in gold mining were attributed to weakness in preparedness for protection against risks of dangers.

Firefighters prepare to rescue miners trapped in a coal tunnel in Minbu following a blast which killed six miners.  Photo: Pho Pyay

Due to lack of rehearsal on the job where to live and how to do in case landslides occur, fatalities were caused. The accident highlighted that there were great sorrows for bereaved families and necessities for sharing knowledge on freedom from dangers if accidents happen as well as need to upgrade the activists who launch campaigns for protecting workers from dangers on the job. In that region, there were losses of 45 lives due to landslides during 11 month-period from 17th January 2014 to 17th November 2014. People will have remembered that nearly 200 migrant workers who searched for less-valued jade from the disposed piles of earth died from the landslide on 21st November 2015, said to be the worst during 2 decades. Concerning that landslide, many writings in journals and social website pages were found, saying as to whether there were any arrangements for safety first on the job or not. Similarly, on 20th January 2015 as well, while pouring concrete at the 7th floor of a building under construction at the site of constructing a hotel in Mandalay, the building collapsed due to the weakness of the scaffolding, killing some workers and injuring nearly 20 workers seriously. The above-said ones are remarkable accidents for failure of preparedness for protection against dangers on the job which were known by people. It is necessary for us to ponder which kinds of means and ways we will choose for implementation of freedom from dangers on the job. Only if the government, employers and employees cooperate hand in hand to do so, will it be successful. In the past, we used to approach such a case in a particular way. If a case happened, we made inquiries—causes of accidents and efforts of controls not to occur again. Until now, some are still dealing with in this approach. As a matter of fact, it can avoid accidents if we control and protect after finding out risks of accidents and their impacts, instead of investigating just at the time when accidents happen. Every workplace is required to exercise a policy on safety first on the job for workers to have a healthy and safe job. And it must have accountability and responsibility as regards safety first on the job. Besides, laborers themselves need to have safety awareness and safe work practices. Carrot and stick approach as well needs to be exercised. Though signboards which read safety first are being erected, there is still weakness in preparedness for safety first until now. Experts conclude that accidents are taking places so far due to lack of equipment on the job. In the past, Singapore did study and imitate the system of the then Yangon’s Construction System. Now, inversely we have to study theirs. Is this attributed to our stupidity or low intelligence. No, it is absolutely not due to our own stupidity. Why, then? Risks of accident are caused for failure to abide by restrictions on the job.  For freedom from risks of accident on the job, it is necessary to implement in every job such measures—upgrading the campaigns launched by activists operating for freedom from risks of accident on the job, promoting friendship among activists operating for freedom from risks of accident on the job, acquiring international knowledge of freedom from risks of accident on the job and giving supports for emergence of strict laws on freedom from risks of accident on the job. In the near future, to be exact, before the end of the year the new law—law on health and freedom from risks of accident on the job and law on health is going to come out. The law under compilation has 17 chapters—freedom from risks of accident on the job, formation of health committee and assignment of medical officers, appointment of examination officers and their duties, accidental injuries, poisoning on the job and reporting, taking action against violators in ways of management, restrictions, punishment and penalty, management of protection from accidents included. When rules and regulations will come out, every mill and factory is required to carry out the process of freedom from risks of accident on the job. So as to develop the national economic development, in other word, to increase the national productive forces, only if all the authorities concerned will implement for reliable labor forces so as not to suffer loss of life and injuries on the job, especially so as to be able to safely work in every kind of work, will the jobs be free from accidents of danger.

 

Translated by Khin Maung Oo

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