Malaysia has the second highest road accident deaths among 21 countries in the Western Pacific region in 2018 according to World Health Organization (WHO).
Deputy director of Sarawak Health Department (Public Health ) Dr Rosemawati Ariffin said that in 2018, the department recorded among its staff 17 commuting accidents, 9 involving official duties, 6 from home to workplace, and two cases from work to home.
Dr Rosemawati was representing their director Dr Jamilah Hashim to officiate at the closing of World Occupational Safety and Health Day 2019 at Miri Library yesterday.
She added that according to police statistics, a total of 6,740 road deaths occurred in 2017 (or 18 to 19 deaths per day nationwide) while globally, 3,700 people died daily due to road accidents, and the number has reached 1.35 million annually.
“Commuting accidents such as from home-to-work and vice versa is indeed a major issue of occupational health and safety in Malaysia. In fact, data on commuting accidents involving staff of the Ministry of Health shows an increase of 69.4 per cent from 193 cases in 2014 to 630 cases in 2018.
“Analysis found that nurses were the highest number of persons involved in accidents, which are 23.8 per cent (150 cases), followed by health care assistants (93), drivers (68), community nurses (55), assistant medical officers (47) and medical officers (36),” she said.
Dr Rosemawati added that accidents have a serious impact on the nation’s economic and social well-being in terms of the loss of manpower and critical productivity.
“According to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) survey in 2011, human factors contributed to the highest percentage of road accidents, which is 80.6 per cent, followed by road condition (13.2 per cent) and vehicle (6.2 per cent).
“MoH is working with MIROS to investigate the factors contributing to road accidents involving the ministry, and like any other employers, the ministry is responsible for ensuring the safety, health and welfare of all its members, in line with the requirements of the Safety and Health Act Employment 1994 “, she added.
The Health and Safety Day Programme organised by the department, Miri Health Department and Miri Hospital was held for two days where participants were exposed to the causes, factors, studies and ways to prevent commuting accidents, talk on public service ex-gratia schemes, defensive driving, notification and inquiry into commuting accidents cases in Sarawak, and the overview of commuting accidents in Malaysia.
The speakers were from the ministry, Social Security Organization (Socso), Road Transport Department, divisional Health Office, and Traffic Police.
During the function Dr Rosemawati presented prizes to winners of the state-level MoH facilities 2019 Occupational Safety and Health Programme.
The divisional Health Office category was won by PKB Miri, Bau District Health Office won the PKD category, Miri Hospital won Major Specialist Hospitals category, Sarikei Hospital won the Minor Specialist Hospital, Rajah Charles Brooke Memorial Hospital Kuching won the Hospital Without Specialist category and Sarikei Dental Office won the PPB category.
Organising chairperson Dr Rohani Mat Bah, state health deputy director (Management) Paul Sazin Riget, Miri Hospital director Dr Jack Wong, Miri Health Dept officer Dr Veronica Lugah and guest speaker from Miri Traffic Police Inspector Arif Hidayat Darma were also present.