The Human Resources Ministry has recommended employers to implement flexible work policies and allow workers to work from home amidst the ongoing haze situation
According to The Star, the Ministry said that the matter was raised at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, 18 September, where it was decided that it is the responsibility of employers to ensure the safety and health of employees.
"It is vital for employers to carry out risk assessments, take appropriate measures, and to determine the need to come to work to ensure risks can be minimised," the Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, 19 September.
The Ministry said that labour laws in Malaysia do not prohibit employers from further determining a place of employment other than those specified in a contract.
"Therefore, depending on circumstances such as haze or flood, workers can carry out their work at home as a temporary measure until conditions are deemed safe," it said.
The Ministry said employers should take initiative to protect the safety and health of employees against the effects of haze
Some methods suggested include:
- identifying types of outdoor work that can be reduced,
- determining criteria for stopping outdoor work,
- conducting respirator fit testing for employees required to work outdoors,
- identifying workers at risk such as those with heart or respiratory problems,
- ensuring sufficient stock of N95 respirators,
- improving efficiency of air purifiers in the workplace, and
- implementing haze communication systems between employers and employees.
It also said employers should ensure workers with medical symptoms such as sore throat and cough, red and watery eyes, sneezing, itching, and breathing difficulty get medical attention immediately.
The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) can order any occupation to be stopped in a situation that the haze poses danger to the safety and health of its workers
Those failing to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1994 (OSHA) is liable to a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or to imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both, and to a further fine of RM500 for each day the offence continues.
The haze situation has led to Lazada Malaysia selling over 36,000 face masks in under 48 hours during its 'Keep The Haze Away Sale':