Aim For Vision Zero And Not ‘Zero Vision’ In Your Organisation — Dr Yap Jun Fai & Dr Lim Yin Cheng

Vision Zero is a strategic mindset that states that all occupational accidents, injuries, or diseases are preventable.

Vision Zero is a strategic mindset that states that all occupational accidents, injuries, or diseases are preventable. This mindset was initially implemented in Sweden more than two decades ago, as the Swedish authority wanted to totally eliminate road traffic accidents (RTA) among their road users. In this context, zero fatality or serious injuries related to RTA is aimed for. 

Realistically speaking, the zero is an aspiration. The process of achieving Vision Zero is more important than meeting the zero target. This ambitious zero-accident philosophy often takes time to materialise as multiple contributory factors (such as road conditions, vehicle speeds, driving behaviours, or other human factors) typically interact with each other in a complex manner and can still lead to potential loss of precious human lives in RTA.

Interdisciplinary collaborations between policymakers, design engineers, public health professionals, and other important stakeholders (which is not a norm in the past) are heavily emphasised in Vision Zero to tackle this public health problem. 

There are three dimensions that Vision Zero touches upon, namely safety, health, and wellbeing. A culture of prevention incorporating these three dimensions at all work levels is desired in any organisation, be it a small-to-medium enterprises or an international company. Nevertheless, it is acknowledged that human beings tend to make errors in their workplace.

Under such circumstances, Vision Zero warrants for the proper establishment of an occupational safety and health management system to ensure inevitable mistakes do not culminate in any worker’s death or serious occupational injuries.

To date, the Vision Zero concept has spread beyond preventing RTA. In fact, it has been pursued by other industries across the world. For instance, the concept has been successfully introduced in most of the mining, aviation, and engineering companies of the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States).

Although Vision Zero is relatively new, Malaysia can be considered as one of the few Southeast Asian countries having the highest number of companies adopting this concept. In Malaysia, Vision Zero was officially launched in 2019, and is slowly gaining popularity in the local settings.

In short, all occupational accidents, injuries or diseases have systemic causes and are preventable if the correct measure is done in a timely manner. Indeed, the best social security is for the employees to remain safe at their workplace.

If you are interested to learn more about Vision Zero, do attend the Towards Vision Zero Conference – Occupational Safety and Health Beyond Pandemic in Hospital organised by the University Malaya Medical Centre.

You will learn about several experience-sharing sessions by distinguished medical specialists or esteemed occupational safety and health professionals. Hopefully, you will then be able to utilise the gained knowledge in enhancing the preventive culture in your own organisation.

Dr Yap Jun Fai and Dr Lim Yin Cheng are affiliated with the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya and the Department of Public Health, University Malaya Medical Centre.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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