Issue of October 15, 2017
     
NEWS
Benguet
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2017
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Workplace health and safety

Accident investigations have proven that non-compliance with rules and standards under the Labor Code and the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) standards significantly contribute to unfortunate occurrences resulting in threats either to the life or limbs of workers.

OSH commonly referred to as “workplace health and safety” is an area concerned with the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. The goals of occupational safety and health programs include fostering a safe and healthy work environment. OSH may also protect co-workers, family members, employers, customers, and many others who might be affected by the workplace environment.

All workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Under health and safety standards, the primary responsibility for this is down to the employers.

Workers have a duty to take care of their health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions at work. Workers must cooperate with employers and co-workers to help everyone meet the legal requirements. In the country, it is called the Department of Labor and Employment OSH standards.

Health and safety is about stopping you getting hurt at work or ill through work. Your employer is responsible for health and safety, but one must help himself/herself from getting hurt while at work.

As a worker, if you have specific queries or concerns relating to health and safety in your workplace, talk to your employer, manager/supervisor, your safety officer, or your company nurse.

The objective of OSH standards is to protect every workingman against the dangers of injury, sickness or death through safe and healthful working conditions, thereby assuring the conservation of valuable manpower resources and the prevention of loss or damage to lives and properties, consistent with national development goals and with the government’s commitment for the total development of every worker. These standards apply to all places of employment except otherwise provided in the standard.

Three years ago, DOLE launched its tripartite-supported Labor Laws Compliance System which is a combination of developmental and regulatory approaches to foster a culture of voluntarily compliance with labor laws, including safety and health standards.

DOLE-CAR OIC Director Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman said there is a need to involve employers and employees to gain ownership of the modifications in their work places for workers’ safety and protection by involving them in the assessment of compliance activities.

However, to ensure that companies, contractors, and subcontractors comply with OSH standards, and that they are made liable, an erring company may be imposed the following penalties for having violated the Labor Code of the Philippines and the Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

First, in cases of imminent danger, the DOLE regional director can issue work stoppage order; second, for unlawful act, there are penal sanctions for erring employers under Article 288 of the Labor Code of the Philippines: a) Fine of not less than P10,000 b) Imprisonment of not less than three months nor more than three years, or c) Both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.

A serious workplace injury or death changes lives forever – for families, friends, communities, and coworkers too. Human loss and suffering is immeasurable. Occupational injuries and illnesses can provoke major crises for the families in which they occur. In addition to major financial burdens, they can impose substantial time demands on uninjured family members.

The importance of safety and health in the workplace, by reducing injuries, it reduces costs to your business; safe workers are loyal workers, and safety and health improves quality.

Time and again, companies that put safety first produce higher quality products. In some cases, that’s because a safe workplace tends to be a more efficient one, free of debris and tangles of cords. In other cases, it’s a matter of focus. By working in a clean, efficient environment, workers are able to reduce distractions and truly focus on the quality of what they do. The results? Better products that create customer loyalty, bigger margins and increased sales. It’s about creating the kind of productive, efficient, happy and inspiring workplace we all want to be part of. It’s about creating a highly profitable company. And that’s why it’s important.

For more information about occupational safety and health in the workplace, visit www.oshc.dole.gov.ph.

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