International News

Malaysia designates COVID-19 as occupational disease

Employees in Malaysia who are infected with COVID-19 due to direct exposure to the disease from their nature of work can now claim for compensation. Malaysia’s Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) has moved to clarify that COVID-19 is recognised as an occupational disease under the country’s Employment Social Security Act 1969.

“The Social Security Organisation recognises the impact of pandemics such as COVID-19 not only to the health of workers, but also to the financial, social and wellbeing of individuals and the nation,” said SOCSO in a Facebook post. “Workers may be affected due to their nature of work, which increased their risk to infection, such as frontline workers, or it may affect workers in relation to their employment, such as from exposure to infected persons while doing their work.”
Read more: Article in hrmasia 

Meanwhile, in Bangladesh .. 

The Bangladesh Occupational Health, Safety and Environment foundation (OSHE) in a press statement last week urged the government to declare the Covid-19 as an occupational disease under the labour law of the country.

OSHE said that at present more than a million of workers and employees in health service, waste recycling, food and medicine supply chain, readymade garments, tea plantation, mass media, bank and financial services etc. in Bangladesh continuing to serve at workplaces due to urgent national and commercial needs with potential health hazard and inadequate health and safety protection; and many of them potentially get infected with coronavirus at work and on the way to work or get back home during this pandemic period require necessary legal protection.

Repon Chowdhury, Executive Director of OSHE foundation said “this is very much a genuine and timely demand under the context of present reality in Bangladesh. COVID-19 needs to be declared as an occupational disease under the present national Labour law immediately through an official executive order by the government towards ensuring health and safety rights of the working population at workplaces passing time with the vulnerability and risk of Covid-19 infection”.

Urgent efforts are needed to ensure that vulnerable group of workers and employees with Covid-19 should have appropriate access to proper housing, with space for quarantine and social distancing while sleeping and eating, potable water and proper sanitation facilities on and off the job, free health care, safe transport, safe work practices and income protection.

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