Malaysia submits instrument of ratification for ILO's Occupational Safety and Health Convention

On 11 June 2024, during the Occupational Safety and Health Conference of the International Labour Organisation (“ILO”) in Geneva, Human Resources Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong presented Malaysia’s instrument of ratification of the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155) (“C155”) to the Director-General of the ILO for registration.
C155 applies to all branches of economic activity, with limited exceptions such as maritime and fishing. It covers all workers in applicable branches. Also, each member state is required to adopt a coherent national occupational and health (“OSH”) policy aimed at preventing accidents and injuries resulting from workplace hazards. When C155 enters into force for Malaysia, it will be obliged to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the articles of that convention.
Minister Steven Sim indicated that this ratification is a testament to Malaysia’s commitment to advancing the protection of workers as part of the Government's continuing effort to strengthen OSH. He also expressed that Malaysia looks forward to continuing and strengthening its ongoing collaborations with the ILO, particularly to advance social justice and decent work for all in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (“SDG”) Agenda 2030.
This effort will complement the implementation of policies and legislation related to national OSH aspects following the 2022 amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 which came into force on 1 June 2024. According to the Ministry, this move will accelerate Malaysia’s progress towards achieving target 8.8 under the SDG which focuses on the protection of labour rights and promotion of a safe and secure work environment for all workers.
From a social and governance perspective, this move will align Malaysia's OSH laws and regulations with international standards, thereby increasing Malaysia’s appeal as a destination for investment. Furthermore, in light of supply chain responsibility laws, Malaysia will be required to ensure that its OSH policies conform to the stringent criteria enforced throughout the supply chain in which it is part of.
All in all, this is a significant step as it reflects Malaysia's dedication to upholding global human rights standards, particularly in OSH. Moving forward, we can expect to see further governmental action to promote OSH policies and to improve working conditions throughout Malaysia.
According to the ILO website, C155 will enter into force for Malaysia on 11 June 2025.1
Alert by Shannon Rajan (Partner) of the Occupational Safety and Health Practice of Skrine.2

1 Information on the effective date of C155 for Malaysia is available here.
2 The writer acknowledges the assistance of Katelyn Yeoh Xue Fen (Pupil) in the preparation of this Alert.

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