An official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has called on employers to provide a better workplace for workers as their way of coping with the implementation of the occupational safety and health (OSH) standards.
“If we talk about occupational safety and health, rwhat comes to our mind is usually injuries and fatalities but on our statistics, there are more fatalities due to work-related illnesses and diseases,” Engr. Yolibelle Aviñante, Supervising Labor Enforcement Officer of DOLE XI said.
Aviñante said the new law, Republic Act 11058, also provides a provision that covers healthy lifestyle and mental health of the workers.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act No. 11058 or An Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof into law last August 17, 2018.
On December 6, 2018, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), through the DOLE Department Order 198-18, which started to take effect on last January 24.
Aviñante said most employers even disregard factors affecting work-related illnesses and diseases, including the workplaces.
“The statistics maybe caused by disregarding the red flags on symptoms of illnesses brought about by the diseases in the workplace,” she said.
Employees are encouraged to provide guidelines that would lean on providing healthy lifestyle among employers.
“We should look into administrative policies that allow workers to have a short break in between time that will cut their prolonged standing,” she said. “For example, due to the nature of the work where an employer is required to stand for a long time, there is an ergonomic hazard such as lower back pain, or muscle strains.”
Under the OSH standards, workers also have the right to refuse unsafe work, and report accidents to their employers and to DOLE and other concerned agencies.
“Safety officers are now empowered also to stop operations if there is an imminent danger in the workplace. Personal protective equipment and other personal clothing that aims to protect the workers from the hazards should be provided for free to all employees,” she said.