- Undersecretary Benavides of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),
- Executive Director Binag of the DOLE Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC),
- Our partners from the government, workers and employers organizations,
- Distinguished speakers, safety and health practitioners, guests, and participants,
- Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga (good morning)!
April 28 marks the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This year’s SafeDay calls upon government, employers and workers to invest now in resilient Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) systems.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of OSH. Workers and people in the world of work have been at the risk of infection. Some workplaces have become sources of outbreaks.
In addition to the risk of infection, workers in all sectors face additional hazards that have emerged due to new work practices and procedures adopted.
Teleworking, for example, has led to ergonomic and psychosocial risks with some 65 per cent of surveyed enterprises. It has blurred the lines between work and private life, and worker morale has been difficult to sustain.
The risk of violence and harassment at work has also risen, with consequences for both physical and mental well-being.
The protection of workers against sickness, disease and injury related to their work environment has been a central issue for the ILO since 1919. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ILO OSH standards have been more relevant than ever.
Key elements of a national OSH system are set out in the ILO’s Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187).
This year’s ILO Report on the World Safety and Health at Work highlights the need to anticipate, prepare and respond to crises by investing now in resilient OSH systems based on six main areas:
- national OSH regulatory frameworks,
- national OSH institutional frameworks,
- occupational health services,
- information, advisory services and training on OSH,
- data collection and research on OSH, and
- mechanisms for strengthening OSH management systems at the enterprise level to prevent and respond to OSH risks.
In the Philippines, the amended OSH law (Republic Act 11058), the national OSH Inter-Government Coordination and Cooperation Committee (OSH-IGC3), and lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic responses can serve as leverage for a more resilient OSH system.
The ILO works closely with the government, employers, workers and other stakeholders to provide technical support and assistance in the development of the National Economic Recovery Strategy (NERS), and the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines.
ILO projects are implemented such as the project on Improving Workers’ Rights in the Rural Sectors in the Indo Pacific, funded by the US Department of Labor. This new project focuses on improving compliance with labour standards, OSH and gender equality in rural sectors of agriculture, fishing and mining.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly been a global challenge for safety and health at work. It has strongly emphasized the importance of social dialogue to find solutions, implement measures, and promote good OSH conditions.
Through concerted action, and commitment of all stakeholders we can forge strong and effective national OSH systems to safeguard the life and health of every worker for years to come.
I wish you all a productive and successful webinar, as we all work together towards economic and social recovery, and a safer and better future of work!
Thank you very much!