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Understanding the Impact of the OSHA 2022 Malaysia Amendment‍‍

Stay informed about the sweeping changes with OSHA 2022 Malaysia. Understand the impact on workplace safety and the enhanced responsibilities for employers.Stay informed about the sweeping changes with OSHA 2022 Malaysia. Understand the impact on workplace safety and the enhanced responsibilities for employers.

The Malaysian government has unveiled a sweeping overhaul of its occupational safety and health regulations. The highly anticipated Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Act 2022 (OSHA 2022) is poised to take effect on June 1, 2024, marking a significant milestone in the nation's commitment to ensuring a secure and healthy environment for its workforce. 

This legislative revamp aims to address the evolving challenges and hazards faced by employees across various sectors, with a particular emphasis on high-risk industries such as manufacturing, construction, and mining. By introducing substantial amendments and additions to the existing Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, the Malaysian government seeks to foster a culture of proactive risk management and heightened accountability for employers. 

Applicability of OSHA 2022 Malaysia 

One of the most notable changes introduced by OSHA 2022 is the extension of its applicability to encompass all workplaces throughout Malaysia, including those in the public service and statutory authorities. This far-reaching scope underscores the government's determination to promote a pervasive culture of safety, ensuring that no sector or industry is left behind in the pursuit of a secure working environment. 

Incorporating a Wider Scope for Workplace Safety 

Under the previous legislation, the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 was limited to specific industries outlined in the First Schedule, such as manufacturing, mining, construction, utilities, and finance. However, the amended act casts a wider net, encompassing any location where work is carried out, regardless of the sector or industry. 

This inclusive approach acknowledges the diverse range of occupational hazards that employees may encounter and aims to provide a comprehensive framework for addressing them. By extending its reach, the government underscores its commitment to safeguarding the well-being of all Malaysian workers, fostering a culture of safety that transcends industry boundaries. 

Heightened Responsibilities for Principals and Employers 

In a concerted effort to enhance accountability and promote proactive measures, OSHA 2022 introduces heightened responsibilities for principals and employers. These key stakeholders are now mandated to take practical steps to ensure the safety and health of all parties involved in the work environment, including contractors, subcontractors, and their respective employees. 

Principals' Expanded Obligations 

The amended act defines a "principal" as an entity that contracts with a contractor for the execution of work undertaken by the principal. Under OSHA 2022, principals now bear the duty to ensure the safety and health of any contractor, subcontractor, or indirect contractor engaged by them, as well as their respective employees. 

This expanded obligation underscores the importance of fostering a collaborative approach to workplace safety, where principals play a pivotal role in overseeing and maintaining safe practices throughout the entire operational chain. 

Employers' Duty to Conduct Risk Assessments 

In a proactive measure to identify and mitigate potential hazards, OSHA 2022 mandates employers and principals to conduct comprehensive risk assessments concerning the health and safety risks affecting individuals at their workplaces. Should these assessments indicate the need for risk control measures, employers and principals are obligated to implement such controls promptly. 

To facilitate this process, the Malaysian government has provided the "Guidelines for Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control 2008" as a valuable resource, empowering employers and principals to adopt a systematic approach to risk management. 

Empowering Employees: Enhancing Protection and Participation 

Recognizing the pivotal role of employees in fostering a safe work environment, OSHA 2022 introduces provisions aimed at enhancing their protection and encouraging their active participation in occupational safety and health initiatives. 

The Right to Remove Oneself from Imminent Danger 

Section 26A of the amended act grants employees the right to remove themselves from situations where they have reasonable grounds to believe there is an imminent danger at their workplace. This provision empowers employees to prioritize their safety by temporarily disengaging from hazardous conditions if the employer fails to take appropriate action. 

Mandatory Appointment of Occupational Safety and Health Coordinators 

To further bolster workplace safety measures, OSHA 2022 mandates the appointment of an Occupational Safety and Health Coordinator (OSH-C) for organisations with more than five employees. These trained coordinators will play a crucial role in promoting and overseeing the implementation of safety protocols, serving as dedicated resources for fostering a culture of safety within their respective workplaces. 

Compulsory Occupational Safety and Health Training 

To enhance workforce preparedness, Section 31A of the amended act permits the relevant ministers to mandate specific groups of individuals to participate in occupational safety and health training courses. These courses, administered by registered and competent training providers, aim to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate and mitigate potential workplace hazards effectively. 

Reinforcing Compliance: Increased Penalties and Deterrents 

To underscore the gravity of non-compliance and incentivize adherence to the new regulations, OSHA 2022 introduces substantial increases in penalties for employers and principals who fail to uphold their obligations. 

Substantial Fines for Non-Compliance 

Section 49 of the amended act outlines a significant escalation in penalties for employers and principals who fail to comply with issued notices. The maximum fine has been raised from RM50,000 (approximately USD 11,000) to a staggering RM500,000 (approximately USD 110,000), reflecting the government's resolute stance on enforcing workplace safety standards. 

Additionally, the daily fine for continued offenses has quadrupled from RM500 (approximately USD 110) to RM2,000 (approximately USD 440), further discouraging prolonged non-compliance. 

Reduced Imprisonment Terms 

While the financial penalties have been substantially increased, the amended act has reduced the maximum imprisonment term for non-compliance from five years to two years. This adjustment aims to strike a balance between deterrence and proportionality, acknowledging the potential impact of lengthy incarceration on individuals and their families. 

Clarifying Serious Bodily Injuries and Competent Persons' Responsibilities 

In pursuit of greater clarity and accountability, OSHA 2022 introduces two new schedules to the act, addressing the definition of serious bodily injuries and delineating the responsibilities of competent persons and registered training providers. 

The Fourth Schedule: Defining Serious Bodily Injuries 

The Fourth Schedule provides a comprehensive illustration of what constitutes a "serious bodily injury" under the amended act. By clearly defining this term, the government aims to establish a common understanding and consistent application of the regulations, ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to address and prevent such incidents. 

The Fifth Schedule: Outlining Responsibilities 

The Fifth Schedule outlines the specific activities and obligations that must be undertaken by competent persons and registered training providers to fulfill their roles effectively. This schedule serves as a valuable reference, promoting accountability and ensuring that these key stakeholders operate within the established guidelines and best practices. 

Fostering a Culture of Continuous Improvement 

While the amendments introduced by OSHA 2022 represent a significant step forward in enhancing workplace safety and health, the Malaysian government recognizes the importance of continuous improvement. As such, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) remains committed to ongoing efforts to further refine and strengthen the regulatory framework. 

Effective implementation of the amended act will require close collaboration between various stakeholders, including employers, employees, industry associations, and regulatory bodies. DOSH actively encourages open dialogue, seeking input and feedback from these parties to ensure that the regulations remain relevant, practical, and responsive to the evolving needs of the Malaysian workforce. 

The DOSH acknowledges the importance of staying abreast of emerging technologies, innovative solutions, and global best practices in occupational safety and health. By fostering an environment that embraces innovation and learning, the department aims to continuously enhance its regulatory framework, ensuring that Malaysian workplaces remain at the forefront of safety and health standards. 

Conclusion: Staying Ahead with Regulatory Changes 

The OSHA Amendment Act 2022 represents a significant milestone in the evolution of occupational safety and health in Malaysia. These changes underscore the government's commitment to promoting a safe and healthy working environment, while emphasizing the legal obligations and responsibilities of employers and individuals at the workplace. 


For legal register services related to OSHA compliance in Malaysia, contact ESC for expert guidance and support


Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For specific legal advice, please consult a qualified EHS professional. 


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