Accidents in the Workplace

A 21-year-old man works at a factory and the steel press malfunctions. He loses the tips of three of his fingers. A bank officer is promoted and moves into his new office. Only, within a week, he suffers a severe attack of asthma and is admitted to the hospital. A 40-year-old man fractures his leg when he falls from a stairwell at the construction site. A teenage girl visits the local supermarket when she cuts her finger on a split tin can. These are all examples of cases that someone like Dr. Hj. Hazlee Bin Abdul Hadi, Consultant Occupational Health Physician and Head of Department for Occupational Health Medicine at Prince Court Medical Centre (PCMC) will come across on a regular basis.

Dr. Hj. Hazlee, says that, “our aim here is to keep our clients’ workforce healthy and productive.” He explains that the services provided by his department range from comprehensive medical evaluation services and laboratory testing to testing for substance abuse and managing injuries at the workplace.

In making the point that PCMC is the only hospital in the Klang Valley that has a full-fledged Occupational Health department, Dr. Hj Hazlee adds, “All our Occupational Health Physicians are certified with the Ministry of Health and they are registered with the Department of Occupational Safety and Health under the Ministry of Human Resources.” Furthermore, all of them are registered with oil and gas companies like Petronas, Shell and Petron). What this means is that these companies have placed full trust in the physicians at PCMC to ensure that employees who are bound for work on off shore platforms have fulfilled all the medical criteria as set out in the document called Fitness for Work Offshore Guideline.

To have a thorough understanding of this, Dr. Hazlee gives real examples of patients he’s treated. “There was one gentleman. He worked with the turbine engines and was very good at what he does. The company wanted him to continue working with them. I think that when he started out, the safety requirements were not so stringent. By the time I saw him, his hearing was impaired. When I tested him, his hearing was, in fact, severely impaired. I had no choice, but to tell the company that it was not safe to send him off shore. If there is a call to evacuate the platform, he won’t be able to hear the siren.”

That said, the Occupational Health Physician does have discretion in the decisions he makes. “I once had a patient who came from Europe,” says Dr. Hj Hazlee. “He had been working off shore there with no problems. However, the Fitness for Work Offshore Guidelines issued by the company here stated that anyone who has diabetes cannot work off shore. And this patient had Type 1 Diabetes. He was insulin dependant. When I first saw him, he brought along his Diabetic Diary, Endocrinology Report and the blood tests he’d done. I could see that his blood sugar levels were consistently under control and that his thyroid function was within limits. Even though it was against the guidelines, my recommendation was that he was allowed to work off shore. But, I would review his case every three months, rather than the usual two years.”

Not all the patients he sees are in the oil and gas industry, though, says Dr. Hj Hazlee. “One of my patients is an IT analyst. He had a desk job. But, he played Futsal and had a torn knee ligament. It was inflamed and the surgeon could only operate one month later. This did not mean he couldn’t work. My recommendation was that he could work as long as his workplace suited his condition. For instance, since he was on a wheelchair, we needed to make sure that the toilet could fit a wheel chair.”

When an employee is required to wear a mask as part of his job, Dr. Hj Hazlee and his team provide a service that does not exist anywhere else called, ‘Respiratory Fit Test’. “This is a quantitative test. For example, say a factory provides masks for its employees to use. Most companies will use a qualitative test, as it’s cheaper. Here, we test the patient and make sure that the mask chosen for him actually fits him. This is especially important in factories that produce dangerous gas and vapour.”

Ultimately, all that Dr. Hj Hazlee says highlights the underlying ethos of PCMC: each patient is seen on a ‘case-by-case’ basis and given individual attention. Such care ensures that the patient is receiving the best possible treatment available at all times.

Stay Healthy When You Travel

It’s your first business trip overseas and you’re in Latin America. You’ve been here for two days and you’ve started to suffer from diarrhoea. At night, you sleep fitfully because you feel feverish one moment and cold the next. You do not know if you’re suffering from a bad case of food poisoning or malaria. Worse, when you go to the pharmacy, you cannot communicate with the pharmacist as you do not speak the language.

“I have heard such stories before,” says Dr. Hj Hazlee Bin Abdul Hadi. Dr. Hj Hazlee is a Consultant Occupational Health Physician and Head of Department for Occupational Health Medicine at Prince Court Medical Centre (PCMC).

Smiling, he adds, “When I ask my patients what vaccinations they’ve had, it’s very common for them to stare at me blankly.” As one of the only private hospital in Klang Valley that has a full-fledged Occupational Health department, Dr. Hazlee and his team are able to provide specialist treatment to patients in the area of travel medicine.

Furthermore, since all the Occupational Health Physicians at PCMC are certified with the Ministry of Health and registered with the Department of Occupational Safety and Health under the Ministry of Human Resources, patients can be assured of receiving quality advice that is comprehensive and relevant.

In real terms, what this means is that if you’re an employee and your company plans to send you overseas on business, you can visit PCMC to determine the kind of vaccinations you’ll need and discuss any other medical concerns you have. “If you don’t know what vaccinations you’ve had in the past, we can do an immunology test to find out. Rather than administering vaccinations blindly, we’ll only administer what his necessary,” says Dr. Hj Hazlee.

There is another aspect to this: what happens if your employee telephones from Africa to say that there’s been an outbreak of disease such cholera? “In such cases,” answers Dr. Hj Hazlee, “we can provide advice as to what to do in an emergency or where to go to seek help.”

As a matter of courtesy, all patients who are travelling overseas and seek assistance from PCMC are provided with a medical kit. “They can carry this with them,” says Dr. Hj Hazlee. “It’s very basic, but it has simple things they’ll need in an emergency like Panadol, antibiotics, ear drops, eye drops, gauze, tourniquet, Immodium and something to stop nausea.”

In the end, with the comprehensive consultancy and advisory service the doctors at PCMC provides, you will undertake your travels knowing you’ve been suitably protected medically. In any case, you can be rest assured that even if something untoward happens, medical attention is just a phone call away.

Petron Case Study

List of doctors:

Occupational Health Services Consultant:

Dr. Hazlee Bin Abdul Hadi
Dr. Nazreen Cheong Abdullah
Dr. Noorashikin Binti Ab Rahim