Materia Medica Malaysiana

July 18, 2007

Cancer, skin diseases in workplace on the rise

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:47 am

NST: PUTRAJAYA: The number of work-related diseases, including cancer, skin ailments and respiratory illnesses, has increased.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn said this may be because there was less emphasis placed on occupational diseases as compared with workplace accidents.
“The focus in occupational safety and health is usually on preventing accidents at the workplace and less on occupational diseases,” Fong said after launching the Convention on Occupational Safety and Health here yesterday.
He said public awareness about occupational diseases was low compared with knowledge of workplace accidents.
Socso records an average of 200 occupational diseases annually. In 2005, 194 cases were reported, an increase over the 185 cases in 2004.
In the public sector, 110 civil servants reported work-related illnesses between January to June to the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), compared with nine cases last year.
A check at Socso’s website,, show-ed that diseases reported in 2004 included hearing impairment caused by noise (48 cases), cancer caused by dust from wood (15), miners’ nystagmus (14) and skin diseases caused by physical, chemical or biological agents (10).
There were also 33 cases of unnamed diseases caused by physical agents.
Fong said Socso had guidelines on handling occupational diseases but more awareness about prevention was needed.
Socso pays benefits for occupational diseases listed under the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969.
Employers who register their workers and contribute on their behalf to Socso cannot be sued so long as the disease is covered by Socso.
For civil servants, claims related to diseases are sent to the Finance Ministry with supporting documents from DOSH which investigates their claims.
On industrial accidents, Fong said Malaysia had reduced the number from 10 accidents per 1,000 workers in 1997 to five per 1,000 last year. “We are way behind advanced countries, which have achieved two or three accidents per 1,000 workers.”

TrackBack URI

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: