Ministry gets tough on workplace safety
The Labour Ministry says it is adopting stricter measures against employers who fail to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.
Peeraphat Pornsirilertkij, director-general of the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, says the ministry was forced to act after recent inspections of factories found more than half did not meet regulations on workplace safety.
The minister has acted by introducing swift measures including warning employers, halting the use of dangerous machinery and filing legal action, Mr Peeraphat said yesterday .
Ministry officials have conducted regular inspections at more than 4,000 factories across the country and found that 64% of them did comply with occupational health and safety laws, he said.
Almost 60 factories are facing legal action for poor work safety practices and failing to improve working conditions despite being issued repeated warnings, Mr Peeraphat said.
Common hazards found on construction sites include unsupervised operation of machinery, unprotected and prolonged exposure of workers to loud noises and heat, and inadequate lighting in the workplace.
In the past, the ministry focused on educating employers about the importance of health and safety and instructed them to improve working conditions, Mr Peeraphat said.
But promoting awareness alone was not effective, Mr Peeraphat said. The majority of employers do not seem to care about making improvements despite government warnings, he added.
Mr Peeraphat said employers have a responsibility to protect workers from hazards at work.
Business owners should learn about workplace safety and are required by law to provide protective equipment to workers, he said.
Meanwhile, authorities will bar people from working in Israel if they have a history of drug abuse.
Checks will be put in place after the ministry was informed that many Thai labourers in Israel were using drugs sent through the post from Thailand.
Sumon Thawonwasu, head of the Thailand Overseas Employment Administration, said the ministry is working with other state agencies to solve the problem.
The move follows a meeting last week between the Labour Ministry, Narcotics Control Board, Narcotics Suppression Bureau and Customs Department officials to find ways of stopping illegal drug use among Thai workers in Israel.