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A compliance inspection is a systematic process used to determine if the conditions or requirements of a licence, approval or legislative instrument are being met, and to what extent the application. One of the essential principle of compliance inspection is risk focus.

Generally, risk focus is an act of focusing on areas or industries that pose the highest risk to the environment based on their location or activity. In view of the ensuring safety, health and welfare of the employees at workplace and to promote an occupational environment adaptable to the person’s physiological and psychological needs, many countries have enacted occupational safety and health law .

The common law imposes a duty on the employer to provide a safe system of work and a safe place of work which includes any area that the employee uses in connection with and in furtherance of the employment. In Abdul Rahim bin Mohamad v Kejuruteraan Besi dan Pembinaan Zaman Kini, Arifin [1998] 4 MLJ 323 , Zakaria J stated: ‘At common law, a master is under a duty, arising out of the relationship of master and servant, to take reasonable care for the safety of his workpeople in all the circumstances of the case so as not to expose them to unnecessary risk (see 20 Halsbury’s Laws of England (4th Ed) para 978). Among these duties are: (a) the provision of proper and suitable plant and appliances ; and (b) the provision and maintenance of a reasonable safe system of working’.

Furthermore, any injury arising from the employer’s failure to provide a safe place of work which incompliance with the laws and legislation may expose them to a civil claim for negligence . In the tort of negligence, as long as there has been neglect in the exercise of the ordinary skill and care by the employer towards the employee, and the employee, without contributory negligence on his part, has suffered injury either to his person or his property, he has an actionable claim in negligence.

In addition, the plaintiff in the case has claimed for damages arising out of an accident which occurred while in the employment of the defendant. After finishing work in one part of the ceiling, the plaintiff refused to come down from the scaffolding despite being asked to do so by SP3. While the plaintiff was on the scaffolding, SP3 pushed the scaffolding to another part of the hall and in so doing the scaffolding fell to the ground and injured the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s refusal to come down from the scaffolding was in breach of s 24(1)(a) and (d) of the OSHA. The above section provides:

(1) It shall be the duty of every employee while at work —

(a) to take reasonable care for the safety and health of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and

(d) to comply with any instruction or measure on occupational safety and health instituted by his employer or any other person by or this Act or any regulation made thereunder.

In dismissing the plaintiff’s action, the court held that the plaintiff ought to have known that by remaining on the scaffolding while the same was being pushed was in fact exposing himself to the unnecessary risk of injury to himself should the scaffolding collapse. In particular, Arifin Zakaria J stated: ‘both the plaintiff and the defendant are equally to blame for the accident. I say so for the simple reason that the accident would not have occurred had the defendant exercised proper supervision of the work. With proper supervision, it is reasonable to expect that the plaintiff would not be allowed to remain on the scaffolding when the same was being pushed. The plaintiff, on the other hand, in the interest of his own safety, should not have remained on the scaffolding. He should have come down while the scaffolding was being pushed and, only after it has been securely set up, should he go up the scaffolding again’.

It can derived from the case that, both employer and employee are required to comply with the compliance procedures better than fall into non compliance and get a black eye through the unfavorable publicity about the parties involved.


Employer’s Safety and Health Responsibility: With Reference to Selected Workplace Violations [2019] 4 ILJ i