Saturday, May 30, 2009

RTW and Sickness Absenteeism

Sickness absenteeism(SA) is one of the main issue in any organisation. SA literally means absent from work due to medical reasons. SA is related to illness or injury. When a worker get ill or injury, he/she usually goes to see a doctor to request for medical sick certificate(MSC). Therefore, SA must be certified via medical sick certificate (MSC) issued by a registered medical doctor.
According to Employment Act 1955, every employee is entitled to 14 days paid sick leave upon commencement of employement (refer to this article for more details on sick leave).
Sickness absence can affect the productivity of an organisation. Frequency in taking MSC should be investigated to find out the health status of the employee. It is important for Human Resource personnel with the help from Occupational health doctor(OHD) to manage sickness absence in their organisation to see the trend and also to find out and monitor employee who has taken frequent MSC. It is not surprising if the investigation will find the real cause(s) contribute to the sickness. Prolonged SA is also an important issue in organisation because it affects productivity, manpower as well as medical costs. RTW program is the best way to handle this issue. RTW is designed in such away to assess a worker's ability (after illness or injury) to do his current job  and modify  and accomodate the task accordingly. The main issue in RTW program is to find out how early the affected worker can return to work - Early Return To Work (ERTW) program.
The popular term 'Loss Time Injury' (LTI) used in industry simply means workplace injury which cause a victim worker away from workNormally LTI needs MSC. LTI is one of the key performance indicator in many organisation. However, what worry most is in the attempt to achieve zero percentage LTI, a worker is denied his right to have a MSC. Sometimes to achieve LTI, ERTW program is used as an excuse and a MSC issued by a medical doctor is cancelled by the management. If not well handle, ERTW can contribute to Presenteeism which simply means come to work  instead of illness or injury but unable to do his job or perform below par. Presenteeism is the hidden costs of business. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

RETURN TO WORK(RTW) PROGRAM - an introduction

Return to Work(RTW) Program is becoming an important program provided by the Occupational Health Services (OHS) in developed countries. I dont know how many organisations in Malaysia has implemented this program BUT I know one well established organisation in Kuching has a very good RTW program. I have attended the briefing about the program by their senior occupational physician 2 years ago. So what is RTW?
RTW is a program designed to REDUCE THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS of injury and illness on the employee. RTW is a well designed program to provide a support in navigating medical and disability benefit, planning the return to work as early as possible and giving an opportunity to do light duty assignment to the injured worker.
The main objectives of RTW program are to return the injured employee to work quickly and SAFELY and IDENTIFY & MANAGE their temporary or permanent disability.
So RTW program will involve in the managing the burden of prolonged sickness absenteeism as well as assessing the impairment caused by the injury/illness to the worker.
Here is the Guide For Managing The Return To Work by Canada Human Right Commission.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

EDOSH Sarawak Teaching Session

Starting from 16th May 2009, I was involved in Teaching Session for EDOSH Sarawak. The module I taught was Occupational Health Services which consisted of 12 topics :
1. Occupational Health Services Overview
2. Fitness For Work
3. Return to Work
4. Medical Surveillance
5. Sickness Absence
6. Emergency Medical Team
7. Travel Health
8. Total Health Promotion
9. Smoking Cessation
10. Principle of Impairment Assessment
11. Drug & Alcohol at the workplace
12. Hearing Conservation Program & Audiometry

The class has 23 registered students. My teaching sessions were 4 days on 16th. 17th, 23rd & 24th May 2009. You can download the lecture notes here, uploaded by the student who owned the safeselamat webblog. I have listed his webblog in my local bloggers list.
I wish all the student HAPPY GAWAI and study hard for your coming examination on 14th June 2009. Read my lecture notes as well as your textbook provided by OUM/IPD and sure you will pass the exam.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Malaysia's First Case of H1N1 Influenza A infection

MOH in its statement today, confirmed that 21 year old student who just came back from US on 13th May, 2009 and was admitted to Sungai Buloh Hospital on 14tth May, 2009 with symptoms of flu-like illness is confirmed as positive H1N1 case. For detail, click here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I attended the briefing session on H1N1 infection organised by Sarawak Health Dept. on 7th May, 2009 at 2:30 pm. The session was attended by about 30 people, representatives from all hospitals (including private hospitals) and Divisional Health Depts. in Sarawak. I am impressed that Sarawak Health Dept. has a very effective Emergency Response Plan (ERP) to handle any possible infectious diseases outbreak in the state. The briefing on the H1N1 infection was given by Dr Rohani Mahbah, Public Health Physician and Dr Chua Hock Hin, Infectious Disease Physician.

The following are my reflections after handling the case mentioned in my previous posting.

1. In this Era of Globalisation; the world is already a global village. We cannot be too complacent if there is crisis in other part of the world because it can affect our place any time. In this case, WHO put the pandemic alert level to phase 5 on 30 April 2009, we in Sarawak already got the suspected case on the 4th May 2009 (only 4 days later). Praised to God, the case was cleared of H1N1 virus.
This is also reflected in the current world economy crisis.
2. Emergency Preparedness Plan (ERP); must be in place all the time to face any crisis. Proper and clear flow chart and guidelines are all important in handling any crisis. To get,the document on the Recommendations for Influenza Pandemic Preparedness for Industry, click here. Adopt and customise it for your industry.
3. Effective Communication; all guidelines must be communicated to all employees especially those who are front line employee. Never ASSUME.
4. Update the knowledge; we need to update our knowledge on the current issue. Read all the informations and instructions provided by the authority body. It is our responsibility to help the authority to control the crisis.
4. At all the time, we must adhere to the universal principle of precaution,droplets precaution, cough etiquette and personal hygiene practice. This simple practices will safe your day from the infections.
Last but not least, check with your management, are your industry already has its ERP and contingency plan in facing any crisis and disaster. We need to emulate the aviation industry, they have all the 'what to do' manual in facing any crisis during the flight.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The man was cleared of H1N1 infection

Alhamdulillah, praised to Allah, the gentleman who was on newspaper headline has been cleared of influenza H1N1 after testing. Today, the home quarantine on me and other collegues was lifted. Now I am at work again :)
So everyone was relieved by the good news. So MALAYSIA is still free from H1N1 infection.


On the 4th May, I was involved in handling 31 year old gentleman who came to our Emergency Dept. with fever, sorethroat and Shortness of breath after 3 days returned from a visit to US. The fact that he visited US from 24th April 2009 to 1st May enough for us to suspect him of possibility of H1N1 infection. We alert Sarawak General Hospital about the case and he was rushed to Isolation Ward specifically prepared for H1N1 infection suspect case.
All of us who were working and has contact with the man was instructed by Ministry of Health to be on home quarantine until the blood test result which was sent to IMR KL ready. So yesterday 5th May, I have to stay at home.

Friday, May 01, 2009


WHO raised its pandemic alert level over the deadly swine flu virus to PHASE 5.
What is Swine Flu?
Swine influenza or "Swine Flu" is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs, caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses.
For detail, click the following resource websites:


Saya mengucapkan selamat menyambut Hari Pekerja yang disambut pada setiap tahun pada 1 Mei, kepada seluruh kaum pekerja Malaysia. Pekerja adalah aset utama sesebuah organisasi dan anggota penduduk yang produktif yang menjadi nadi utama ekonomi sesebuah negara. Pada 28 April 2009 yang lalu, seluruh dunia telah menyambut Hari Sedunia Untuk Keselamatan & Kesihatan di tempat kerja dengan tema 'Kesihatan & Kehidupan di tempat kerja : Asas Hak Asasi Manusia'. Semuga seluruh pekerja Malaysia akan menitikberatkan kesihatan dan keselamatan mereka kerana itulah sahaja aset yang paling berharga yang menjadi milik setiap pekerja.
Selamat Hari Pekerja dan Selamat Hari Keselamatan & Kesihatan di tempat kerja Sedunia 2009