Labor safety

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

THEe same social compulsion that pushed us to consider more keenly the drive and extra effort the Civil Service Commission (CSC) showed when it went after the inefficient and often delayed delivery of public services to deserving clients is also what impels us to do for the private sector.

Private firms are considered the mainstay and supposed vanguard force that looks after the health and welfare of labor. Consider, for example, what the Construction Workers Solidarity (CWS) revealed: that there were about 13,000 labor accidents that occurred among construction workers last year.

When the labor groups celebrated World Health Day for Workers, labor leaders concerned reportedly urged the Department of Labor and


Employment (Dole) to “strictly enforce occupational and safety guidelines in the construction industry.”

The CWS president pointed out “most of the accidents involved workers falling from construction sites, electrocution, and suffocation.” He said these could be prevented if the companies strictly follow the guidelines.

But the point that should be clearly brought out is the fact that, in the case of labor situations on the side of the private sector, it is not so much the fault of the individuals who suffer the accidents as it is often because of the companies’ or corporate firms’ failure to adapt or install precautionary measures to prevent the accidents.

Dole order No. 13 “provides sanction against companies that do not observe safety measures at job sites.” Deaths and disabilities were always the results of job-site accidents.

At month’s end a few days ago, “labor leaders and government officials held a ceremonial candle-lighting in honor of the millions of workers around the world who died from work-related accidents and illnesses. The ceremony was reportedly part of the observance of the International Workers Memorial Day.

But before the candle-lighting rite, the labor leaders and government officials in attendance “made a pledge of commitment to promote occupational safety and health.” An information official of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said that other than occupational safety and health, discrimination against employees that are found to be infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) should be stopped.

Likewise, ALU-TUCP also reportedly requested Dole to enforce the “International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 170” or the Chemicals Convention which was reportedly adopted in June 1990 “which aims to reduce the incidence of chemically induced illnesses and injuries at work.

All in all, we should take good note of the fact that this expression of concern for the safety of workers at their job site also indicated a social counter-balance to the public sector’s effort to curtail the ill-effect of red tape to public service.

The private sector has, in effect, its own concern for our workers’ safety and health, something that should mean so much to the protection of their life and limb.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 07, 2014.


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