Businesses focus on worker safety as temperatures rise

Businesses focus on worker safety as temperatures rise
Photo from Yans Baroy

AS TEMPERATURES rise, businesses in Cebu are implementing workplace precautions to safeguard their employees.

“We, at Mandaue Chamber, recognize the priority of safeguarding our employees as well as balancing the impacts of lost productivity due to the extreme heat,” said MCCI president Marc Anthony Ynoc on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

Ynoc said most of MCCI’s member-companies have taken preventive approaches such as scheduling outdoor tasks earlier or later in the day to avoid the midday heat; educating the workforce, especially the field workers; maximizing indoor work activities; providing proper hydration; practicing open communication regarding health matters; and assessing the gears or uniforms that are better fit for this weather.

Melanie Ng, area vice president for the Visayas of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said they have urged their member-companies to ensure their employees are protected from the extreme heat.

“Scorching heat is one factor that contributes to low productivity and well being. We therefore encourage our members to make sure measures are adapted at the workplace to mitigate the heat, especially by adding heat shading structures and adding cooling fans and also advise workers to liquefy as often as possible to prevent dehydration,” Ng said.

Work limitations

On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III called on the government to adopt measures implemented by other countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to safeguard workers from extreme heat as temperatures soar to record highs across the country.

The senator suggested the imposition of work limitations during periods of intense heat and the enforcement of occupational heat safety and health protocols. He strongly recommended lowering the heat index threshold to 40 degrees Celsius, as observed in the UAE.

“The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) should work with the private sector in implementing a similar policy. As I said last year, there should be a temporary work break or compulsory rest periods when the heat index reaches a danger level,” Pimentel said in a statement.

“I am very much concerned about the safety of our workers, especially those working outside directly exposed to the intense heat of the sun, including construction workers among others,” he added.

The lawmaker noted that the soaring temperatures recorded in the past days underscore the urgency for swift implementation of protocols to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries.


Dole 7 issued an advisory on its website on Wednesday saying that rest breaks or work locations of those working under the heat of the sun should be adjusted.

It warned that workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress that could cause heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes.

Dole reiterated Labor Advisory 8, series of 2023, recommending safety and health measures to prevent and control heat stress at the workplace, such as reducing extreme heat exposure of employees through adequate ventilation and heat insulation in workplaces; and adjusting their rest breaks or work locations.

Workers should also be allowed to use temperature-appropriate uniforms and personal protective equipment; and should be provided with free and adequate drinking water.

It also asked employers to implement, based on workplace assessment, information and advocacy campaigns on symptoms on how to address heat stress and establish procedures and information networks to address heat-related emergencies.

The advisory also urged employers and workers to agree to adopt a flexible work arrangement to limit exposure to extreme heat and strenuous activities, by adjusting the work hours while maintaining the total number of work hours within the day or week until such time that the weather condition has improved.

Cebuanos were already told to brace for hotter days ahead, with the heat index falling under the “extreme caution” category.

On Wednesday, Cebu experienced a heat index of 36 degrees Celsius.

Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Ca-ñal from the Department of Health 7 has already advised the public to adhere to safety measures during intense heat by avoiding outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., particularly during peak hours when the heat index is at its highest.

She also recommended wearing sunscreen when venturing outdoors and emphasized the importance of staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water. / KOC


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