Of occupational hazards and safety-A A +A
By Art Tibaldo
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
WHILE we learn to cope with the rigors of our daily work, we often find ourselves in very difficult circumstances and situations that vary from day to day. It is probably wrong to think that a worker becomes expert, infallible and without trouble when his or her work becomes business-as-usual, routinary and standardized from time-in to time-out. Even a seasoned truck driver who may have traversed the most difficult roads in the country still needs to be extra cautious, defensive and alert just like a neophyte as he is not in control of the vehicles coming from the opposite direction.
Yes, accident do happen even at the most unexpected places but most of the cases recorded are either work related or results of self neglect if not plain accident simply bad luck.
In November 1987, the Occupational Safety and Health Center of the Philippines was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 307 of then President Corazon C. Aquino with the mandate to do research and training on matters pertaining to safety and health at work. The OSHC provides the expertise and intervention mechanism to improve workplace conditions in the Philippines.
Said government office has a dual mandate of protecting Filipino workers against accidents and illnesses and promoting workers' welfare through effective programs that enhance productivity, workers well-being and afford social protection to its client sector. The Center adopts a multi-sectoral strategy with its partners, business, workers group, other Government and Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Academe to fulfill its mandate.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Standards of the Philippines, Rule 1013, identifies and considers "hazardous workplaces" as those where the nature of work exposes the workers to dangerous environmental elements, contaminants or work conditions including ionizing radiation, chemicals, fire, flammable substances, noxious components and the like.
Rule 1013 likewise include places where the workers are engaged in construction work, logging, fire fighting, mining, quarrying, blasting, stevedoring, dock work, deep-sea fishing and mechanized farming and where the workers are engaged in the manufacture or handling of explosives and other pyrotechnic products. Places where the workers are exposed to power driven or explosive powder actuated tools and biologic agents such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoas, nematodes, and other parasites are also covered by “hazardous workplaces” by the OHSC.
It is therefore mandated under Rule 1041particularly the General Requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards that In every place of employment, a health and safety committee shall be organized within sixty (60) and takes effect within one (1) month from the date the business starts operating.
The Health and Safety committees play very important roles in eliminating work hazards and according to Rule 1045 of the OSHS, employers are duty bound and responsible to generate interest and participation of workers in the planning and development of safety program. The employer according to the rule must exercise the leadership necessary and provide support to make the program work.
The employers according to the OSHS shall establish and adopt in writing administrative policies on safety in conformity with the provisions of standards outlining their responsibility and authority and to report to the enforcing authority copies of the policies adopted and the health and safety organization established to carry out the program on safety and health within one month after the organization or reorganization of the health and safety committee.
A blogger by the name Madhavi Ghare of www.buzzle.com share that an office worker should keep their working area neat and clean. Piles of papers and stacks of files combined with a tangle of wires are a disaster waiting to happen. Office workers should ensure that all doors and windows have security locks. Establishments that deal with cash on a daily basis attract burglars therefore they should install security cameras at doors and exits. These devices will help record the images of thieves which is important for the police in tracking and locating the culprit.
Denise Brandenberg, a contributor of www.eHow.com wrote in her article “Safety Tips for an Office Workplace” that In order to avoid slipping and injury, it is essential to have the floors moped clean and dry. Secondly, walkways and stairways should have a good lighting. Brandenberg likewise added that employees should make sure that their computer and keyboard are kept at proper position to avoid eye and wrist problems respectively.
Sharp objects like scissors, blades, paper cutter, stapler pins, etc. should be kept away and at safe places all the time she added. For more information about occupational hazards and pertinent laws in the Philippines, please write to; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 31, 2012.