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Corruption Threatens Workplace Safety

When implementing occupational safety and health (OSH) practices in the workplace, attention must be given to preventing corruption and promoting integrity.

In what ways can unethical and corrupt practices affect safety and health at work?

What is the impact of corruption on workplace safety and public well-being?

Ethics, honesty, and morals are key elements of integrity. In the workplace, those who act with integrity always tell the truth, are accountable, transparent, reliable, and treat co-workers, stakeholders, and customers with respect.

When someone acts with integrity, they do the right thing even when no one is watching.

Civil servants, employees of government-linked companies (GLCs), and those in the corporate sector should uphold integrity and avoid corrupt practices.

Integrity should be instilled in them when they join an organization, making it an integral part of their identity over time.

According to the Business Ethics Institute of Malaysia (BEIM), eliminating fraud is crucial for sustainable safety management, particularly in OSH and the prevention of accidents or near misses in the workplace.

The following are examples of fraudulent practices that can impact safety outcomes:

i. Purchase of low quality of sub-standard Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) or tools/equipment, increasing the risk of injury for employees and the public;

ii. Inaccurate records, leading to improper assessment of hazardous situations or product characteristics, or misappropriation of necessary support to address risky environments.

Iii. Taking shortcuts and circumventing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), resulting in unsafe practices.

iv. Abuse of power, exploiting vulnerable individuals by subjecting them to dangerous, unclean, and demanding work environments to achieve personal goals.

v. Conflict of interest, favouring less competent vendors when awarding contracts, thereby creating safety hazards and exposing employees to hazardous environments without adequate protection.

It is undeniable that honesty and integrity are essential to address the aforementioned problems and prevent corrupt practices.

We should not tolerate corruption and allow it to persist, especially among OSH practitioners. In the fight against corruption, it is crucial to integrate elements of integrity, good governance, and ethical behaviour into existing safety training syllabi.

OSH practitioners should be educated to embrace integrity and reject corruption. Emphasising moral values will help them understand the importance of avoiding unethical and corrupt practices in the workplace.

While efforts by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission to combat corruption are welcomed, it is evident that the fight should also extend to the workplace. Corruption, in any form, must never be tolerated, as it impoverishes the country, causes hardship to the people, and hampers economic growth. If corruption involves OSH practitioners and agencies, it can lead to accidents resulting in injury or death.

We cannot afford to be indifferent or complacent about corruption, as it undermines not only the economic and social fabric of society but also the moral foundations of order.

Continuous efforts should be made to instil integrity and ethical values, as individuals with high integrity are less likely to engage in corrupt practices under any circumstances.

The crucial point to emphasise is that OSH excellence should be pursued with integrity for the future.




Image: Freepik

Source: New Straights Times

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