Vision Zero Malaysia




1st Principle: Life Is Not Negotiable.

Nothing is so important that it can be weighed up against human life. The right to life and physical integrity is central to the Basic Law – and VISION ZERO demands nothing less. Internationally, the ILO estimates that there are around 360,000 fatal accidents at work and more than 1.95 million deaths caused by diseases resulting from poor working conditions and exposure to carcinogenic or otherwise harmful materials and substances. So how far have we really progressed when it comes to this basic human right?

Protecting this right is everyone’s duty – government bodies, accident insurers, as well as companies, managers and employees. However, it does show the kind of compromises we have to make in order to preserve the basic right to life and physical integrity.


2nd Principle: People Make Mistakes.

VISION ZERO is based on the established fact that mistakes at work and on the roads can never be completely avoided. Studies of sensorimotor activity have shown how limited our capability is to perceive information from the environment, process it and compare it to memorised information. It is evident that the sheer quantity and density of information means that human error is the rule rather than the exception. As well as this, people make mistakes due to emotional, motivational and stress-related processes

Research into accidents on the roads and at work confirmed that the main causes of accidents can be found in human error, in other words in the conduct of employees. But this is precisely the wrong way of thinking, because if humans, with all the motor skills, coordination, perception and information processing skills that evolution has given them, are still often unable to cope with the demands of the modern workplace or roads, then we can’t blame them if they make mistakes. Timely intervention would have prevented the accident.

However, this also means that with almost all traffic accidents and a large number of accidents at work, we can expect to find human error at numerous places in the chain of events that led to the accident. Even so, VISION ZERO insists that mistakes must never cost lives.


3rd Principle: The Ability to Cope with Physical and Mental Pressure Is Crucial.

Precisely because we accept that people will make mistakes, we must ensure that when accidents do happen, they do not cause serious injury. “Everybody gets there safe and sound” was how the German Road Safety Council (DVR) put it when it opted for the VISION ZERO strategy, thus committing itself to the development of design principles for vehicles and infrastructure that minimise injuries, including assistance and safety systems (such as airbags).

At the workplace, this becomes even more important considering that with the internet of things, for example, humans and (seemingly) intelligent machines will work side-by-side at many workplaces without protective barriers.


4th Principle: Situational Prevention Comes First.

Road users and workers cannot create safe working conditions or traffic systems by themselves. This means we have to think further: the workplace and traffic systems must be adapted to suit human beings, not the other way around. In traditional occupational health and safety, we call this giving priority to situational prevention. However, it does not absolve individuals from their own responsibility. On the contrary, everyone must be aware of the risks to themselves and others as a result of what they do and what they fail to do. This is what we called, “shared responsibility”. Individuals are responsible for obeying laws and regulations, while system designers must ensure that the system as a whole is safe. System designers are primarily employers, managers, machinery manufacturers, planners and authorities.

Critics sometimes claim that VISION ZERO is unrealistic. But there is a clear answer to that. Who wants to tell a person who has suffered permanent injury from an accident that the tragedy was unavoidable and more or less expected? If you want to achieve the best that is possible, you have to aim for what seems impossible. And there are success stories. In aviation and rail transport, VISION ZERO has long been the gold standard and its aims have largely been achieved. And in the rare event of a serious air crash or train accident, politicians, the media and the public demand investigations so that such accidents never happen again. In contrast, the smaller disasters that occur every day at work and on the roads barely merit a footnote.

But when critics resort to the cost argument, damage caused by accidents at work will be at least as much, because payouts by accident insurers alone come to around 10 billion Euros each year. On the global scale, the ILO estimates that approximately 4% of the world’s gross domestic product is lost with the cost of injury, death and disease through absence from work, sickness treatment, disability and survivor benefits.


For more details regarding Vision Zero 2019, please call 03-4264 5409/ 5604/ 5369
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