Female employees still free to wear high heels

WHILE many rejoice of the Department of Labor and Employment's (Dole) order that discourages the mandatory use of high-heeled footwear among women in the office, an official said workers are still free to wear heels if they want to.

On Friday's Connect Science+Health and wellness press conference at SM Lanang Premier, Dole-Davao officer-in-charge Henry Montilla explained that the workers are still in liberty to wear whatever they want to at work.

"It will be upon the management. Maybe they will have to secure a signature from the employee that they want to wear heels on this day or so," Montilla said.

He added that it is the management's primordial concern to know about the new Department Order and learn the harmful effects of wearing heels in a long-term basis.

The Department Order 178 states the safety and health measures for workers who, by the nature of their work, have to stand or are frequently required to walk, such as retail and/or service employees, assembly line workers, teachers, and security personnel.

Occupational health and safety issues covering employers or establishments where workers are required to wear high heeled shoes and/or stand at work for long periods or frequent walking are observed to result to cause strain on the lower limbs, aching muscles, hazardous pressure on hip, knee and ankle joints and sore feet.

Further, the order also states occupational safety and health measures to be applied by employers or establishment for workers who have to stand which include:

1. Implement rest periods to break or cut the time spent on standing or walking.

2. Install appropriate flooring or mats that will mitigate the impact of frequent walking and prevent fatigue, such as wood or rubber floorings.

3. Provide table or work surfaces with adjustable heights to allow workers to alternately sit and stand while performing their tasks.

4. Provide readily accessible seats to be used during rest periods or even during working hours, provided the employees can perform their duties in this position without detriment to efficiency. These can be small foldable stools which can easily be stowed away so as not to hamper the work area.

5. Implement the use of footwear which is practical and comfortable. These should not pinch the feet or toes; are well fitted and non-slipping; provide adequate cushion and support to the arch of the feet; either flat or with low heels that must be wide-based or wedge type and no higher than one inch.

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