Around the world as many as 6,000 workers lose their lives every day from work-related accidents, injuries, or diseases, which the International Labour Organization estimates as 2.2 million people dying a year. Even morepeople – 270 million others – are permanently scarred from accidents at work and another 160 million suffer short- or long-term illnesses as the result of accidents.
In Indonesia, many workplaces still don’t have good standards for occupational health and safety, or ”OHS”, as it’s often referred to. And although laws on OHS have existed since the Sukarno era, lax safety standards and low awareness of safety mean that Indonesia still has poor workplace statistics compared to our neighbours.
According to 2010 data from the Ministry of Manpower, about 23 out of every 100,000 workers die here in work-related accidents each year. “Other country’s figures are much lower,” Harjono, the president of the National Safety and Health Council of Indonesia, told The Jakarta Post newspaper in 2010. “Malaysia and Thailand only reported six casualties per 100,000, Japan 2.5, Singapore 3.5 and Scandinavian countries [an average of] 1.5. Our figures are just too high.”
Apart from the heartache it causes families, the poor work-safety record also hurts the Indonesian economy; the ministry estimates it loses between Rp 40 trillion and Rp 50 trillion annually. That’s around 1 per cent of our national GDP.
Of course, OHS hasn’t always been perfect in other countries, either. In 1908, the injuries to 16-year-old Harry McShane (pictured here) caused the United States to pass laws requiring accidents to be investigated and
compensated. Harry was pulled into machinery in a factory in Cincinnati and had his arm ripped off at the shoulder and his leg broken. He never received compensation.
Since the 1950s, the ILO and the World Health Organization have shared a common definition of workplace health. The definition reads:
"Occupational health should aim at: the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations; the prevention amongst workers of departures from health caused by their working conditions; the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health; the placing and maintenance of the worker in an occupational environment adapted to his physiological and psychological capabilities; and, to summarize, the adaptation of work to man and of each man to his job."
Common accidents in the workplace
In Indonesia, the Ministry of Manpower has launched a series of campaigns to ensure workplace health and safety measures are implemented across all relevant industries by 2015. It is also highlighting good examples in industryof workplace health and safety.
One of these businesses is a cement producer PT Holcim Indonesia Tbk. In 2011 the company was awarded the
Golden Flag occupational health and safety award from the ministry for the third time consecutively.
With the motto “Safety First, No Compromise”, safety governs every aspect of Holcim’s operations and extends into work it does in the community and the family life of its employees. For information on Holcim’s general workplace safety policy as well as hazard awareness seminars and work in community, please click here.