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Exercise 1

The Disaster at Syarikat Zumaju Sdn. Bhd

Nathan was exhausted. He had a bad headache caused by the stress of what had been a very
long day. As Factory Manager, he was responsible for the production of all Syarikat Zumajus
products and the 200 production workers. The company made mostly steel filing cabinets, which
sold very well, as well as few other minor items such as metal safes for the home consumer.
The company used to have a Safety and Health Officer, but after he had resigned six month
ago, the position had remained vacant.

Nathan had received a telephone call from night-shift supervisor at 4.00 a.m., asking him to
come to work as there had been a bad accident. When he arrived thirty minutes later, he was
briefed by the supervisor as to what had happened. A worker on a metal-cutting machine had
slipped in a pool of oil, which had leaked from his machine. In trying to stop his fall, he had
grabbed the machine, which had clamped down on his hand cutting off two fingers of his right
hand in the process and mangling the hand badly. The supervisor had called the nearest
hospital for an ambulance as the worker was losing a lot of blood, but the ambulance had taken
nearly 35 minutes to arrive. In the meantime, the worker continued to bleed and no one knew
what to do to help him. All the other workers had stopped their machines after the accident as
they were not in the mood to continue work. The supervisor had not ordered them back to work,
especially as two of the women in the same section were semi-hysterical.

Later that morning, Nathan had conducted a preliminary investigation into the accident and had
reported the incident to the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). He knew
that they would send out an officer to investigate and he wanted to be ready for any questions
they might ask, He also realized that in the last 12 months, the company had neglected the
safety of its workers in the interest of ensuring they achieved the production targets set for
them. He suspected that DOSH might even issue a stop-work order, which would really upset
the companys chief executive officer, as they had a huge number of cabinets to complete in the
next month for a customer who had promised them further orders if they could supply according
to specification and on time. Nathan had prepared a list of some of the issue that could have led
to the accident. They included the following:
The worker concerned had been working maximum overtime for the last two months and
had volunteered for the night-shift because he earned a higher rate of pay when he worked
at night.
The worker had only been with the company for three months and, so far had not attended
any safety training.
Many of the workers in the cutting section did not wear the gloves provided to them by the
company. They complained that the material made their skin unbearably itchy.

Nathan also checked the records of the companys safety and health committee. The last
meeting was five months ago! He did not look forward to the visit from DOSH officer expected
any time now.

Source : Maimunah, A. (2011). Human resource Management: Principles and Practices. Kuala
Lumpur: Oxford University Press.

Question : Syarikat Zumaju is not complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Act
in a number of ways. Identify these and discuss.

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