Occupational Safety in the Philippines: A Closer Look at the New Law

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In August 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law that ensures the employees’ safety in their workplace. It may sound irrelevant to some, but a closer look at the statistics tells us that occupational safety law is a long-overdue reform.

Most Common Occupational Injuries

According to the most recent survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the number of occupational injuries rose significantly in 2015 compared to the 2013 data. Dislocations, sprains, and strains rose from 9.7% to 12.6% in all industries, including health, information, and finance.

Preventing these injuries through muscle conditioning program is a must. Suerte Steel Corporation and other prominent companies in the country would agree that using simple devices, such as steel caster and wheels for better ergonomics and mobility surely helps, too.

Fractures also rose from 7.2% in 2013 to 8.8% in 2015. The industries, which reported the highest incidence of fractures, are mining and quarrying, information and communication, and health and social work.

Potential Solutions

Ensuring bone health is one of the preventive measures to avoid bone breakage. In the workplace, utmost caution is necessary. Aside from injuries labeled as “others,” superficial injuries and open wounds are the only ones that are lessened from 61.7% to 56.2%. This classification, however, remains the most common. Real estate, professional, and agricultural industries are the sectors with the highest incidence of these injuries.

Perhaps the only way to avoid cuts and wounds in the workplace is to be extra careful. These numbers do not come as a surprise because according to the International Labor Organization, only about 2 million Filipinos out of the 38.2-million workforce enjoy effective occupational safety and health.

Employers’ Obligations

cpr training However, staving off unwanted occurrences in the workplace no longer depends solely on the workers. Employers are now legally required to ensure occupational safety. This mandate includes letting the employees know about the hazards in the workplace. More specifically, if you are an employer, you should orient your workers regarding workplace safety. This means you should also itemize the preventive measures, so risks may be avoided.

In addition, you should provide your employees with the proper protective equipment and facilities.

Employees’ Rights

On the other end are the employees’ rights and responsibilities. If you are a worker, the new law encourages you to report your bosses who do not comply. If there’s an imminent danger at your workplace, you may refuse to work. If the work condition necessitates you to stop working temporarily and it is the employer’s fault, you are entitled to receive payment.

Penalties

If employers are proven to have violated this new law, they need to pay PHP100, 000 per day until the violation is corrected. If they try to conceal non-compliance by submitting false documents, delaying access to the workplace, or obstructing any legal procedure, they will pay another penalty up to PPP100, 000 on top of the daily fine.

On the other hand, if an employer complies with these new regulations, they may be given incentives.

Occupational safety and health in the Philippines have long been ignored primarily due to lack of reliable equipment, which could be the reason injuries and risks have been on the rise. With the new law, along with the cooperation of both the employers and the workers, health and safety hazards will hopefully be eliminated.

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