nitial Incident


Work-related fatalities brought to the forefront

PUBLISHED:09 June 2021

A total of 64 work-related fatalities were reported over the last eight years, according to Safety, Health and Environment National Authority (SHENA) Chief Inspector of Industry Jaime Rebelo.

He said this during a talk titled 'Resilience is being prepared - The SHENA Story' held as part of the Safety and Health Week 2021 organised by the Public Works Department (JKR) of the Ministry of Development at the Atria Simpur Hall, JKR headquarters yesterday.

The Talk touched on work-related fatalities, non-fatality injuries, whether or not there is under reporting, the importance of resilience, organisation preparedness in handling crisis, risk management turning challenges into opportunities, resilience in construction and a safe and healthy culture.

Rebelo said that at the national level, the number of fatalities over eight years is concerning, considerring that Brunei Darussalam does not have a big workforce. He added that most fatalities came from the construction industry, which raises the importance of rethinking work activities and exploring the possibilities of under reporting from organisations. "As an organisation, you should be committed to making sure that reports are filed because when that happens, as regulators, we are better prepared to ensure that the right procedures and guidance are there for you." Rebelo said, adding that "we can ensure that people go home safely".

The inspector also detailed occupational and work-related diseases, which are also possibly under reported. One of the biggest concerns between SHENA and the Ministry of Health is noise-induced hearing loss, which according to statistics has dropped from 36 in 2014 to six in 2020. Meanwhile, in terms of organisation preparedness in handling crises, Rebelo said organisations need to review work practices starting with raising awareness and understanding of compliance and collaboration in the people; improving on existing strategies - being prepared to take the difficult decisions, seeking out continuous improvement in their procedures; and monitoring and maintaining existing equipment and raising the bar as improved standards.

"Resilience is about adaptability in the face of crisis, the capacity to bounce back competently." he said. "We seek support from government and industry stakeholders to review their systems and procedures and identify areas of concerns. Together we can make Brunei a safe place to work and live." The talk also saw SHENA Inspector of Industry Haji Junit bin Zakaria explaining the legal framework, the Workplace, Safety and Health Order, 2009, minimum HSE requirements, and incident reporting. SHENA Inspector of Non-Industry Zaharuddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman explained workplace safety and health arrangements in construction detailing workplace safety and health requirements, roles of officers and co-ordinators, how to register as a Workplace, Safety and Health (WSH) Officer, Co-ordinator, Committees and Auditors as well as a list of training providers. 

Published by Borneo Bulletin on Tuesday, 8 June 2021