A teacher in Personal Protective Equipment checking the temperature of pupils entering SK Taman Klang Utama last month. -NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: THE Alliance for Safe Community has called on the government to consider granting tax rebates to employers who procure imported Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their workers.

Its chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, said this would encourage employers to buy better quality PPE for their workers apart from making the items more affordable.

Lee also called on the government to provide incentives to local manufacturers to produce good quality PPE.

"PPE is often essential and generally the last line of defence after engineering and administrative controls have failed to reduce the exposure of the employees.

"However, employers are complaining of the high price of imported PPE, which is unaffordable to the users.

"Hence, many resort to alternatives, such as buying cheaper products of lower quality, which is not advisable for use as these can expose employees to occupational injuries and diseases," said Lee on Monday.

He said the use of PPE to reduce employees' exposure to hazards at the workplace was stipulated in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994.

"I hope employers will not compromise on the quality of PPE as they must adhere to the guidelines given by the Occupational Safety and Health Department, or at least meet the standards required by Sirim Bhd to ensure the quality of such products," he said.

Lee added that implementing good occupational safety and health practices could ultimately save lives, especially in high-risk workplaces.

Knowledge of the right protective equipment or PPE as such, he said, was imperative in promoting safer work cultures and reducing the risks of occupational hazards.

"In Malaysia, occupational accidents and fatalities are not a rare occurrence. In fact, occupational accidents per 1,000 workers are a matter of concern with 2.4 in 2018 compared with 2.93 in 2017, 2.88 in 2016 and 2.81 in 2015.

"This calls for us to be vigilant about the safety procedures, as well as to be aware and educated about what we can do to avoid such mishaps."