World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Flash mob, toolbox talks rally workplace safety in the Philippines

Youth rise up against workplace accidents and illnesses through flash mob and toolbox talks to mark the 2017 World Day for Safety and Health at Work in the Philippines.

Press release | Manila, Philippines | 27 April 2017
Millennials join forces with the government led by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), employers and workers organizations, as well as civic and youth organizations to mark the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Young Filipino workers will stage a flash mob to rise up against workplace accidents and illnesses. The youth-led flash mob will be held at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila on Friday, 28 April at 6:30 in the morning.

Global estimates of the International Labour Organization (ILO) revealed that every day 6,300 people die due to workplace accidents or work-related illnesses that can be prevented. The Philippines, with a relatively young workforce, faces the challenge of which most of its youth work in sectors considered as hazardous such as agriculture, manufacturing and construction.

“Youth suffer higher work-related injury than older workers. Half of these accidents happen during the first six months on the job. This trend shows the need for a culture of prevention and preparation for young workers as they enter the labour force,” said Khalid Hassan, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.

After the youth-led flash mob, small talks and group discussions will be held on occupational safety and health (OSH) to raise awareness and to help build a culture of prevention in the Philippines. Hugot lines, a Filipino term for pulled quotes to express deep sentiments and emotional undertones on workplace safety will also be posted online with the hashtag #OSHangGustoKo (OSH is what I want).

Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the campaign aims to elicit cooperation and support of workers, employers, professional groups and especially the general public in upgrading the quality of life in the workplace.

“Through the ILO conventions, particularly in implementing the SafeYouth@Work Project, DOLE will continue to ensure that our workers, especially the youth know their rights at work, including a right to a safe and healthy workplace,” Bello said.

The ILO’s SafeYouth@Work Project, funded by the US Department of Labor (US DOL) seeks to improve workplace safety for the Filipino youth by optimizing OSH data, supporting related laws and policies, enhancing capacities, and expanding knowledge and awareness.

Meanwhile, DOLE also led a series of toolbox talks covering construction sites in Metro Manila together with the National Capital Region Construction Industry Tripartite Council (CITC). In 2016, the Integrated Survey on Labor and Employment (ISLE) showed that labourers and unskilled workers found in the construction industry posed the highest share of mostly injured workers at 70 per cent. In construction, labourers and unskilled workers are usually young workers.

The toolbox talks focused on strict implementation of preventive measures and compliance with OSH standards to avoid workplace accidents and illnesses in construction sites, especially among young workers.

Real estate developers, specifically Datem, Makati Development Corporation, Megawide, Monolith, EEI and DMCI participated in the toolbox talks held on 25 to 29 April. In the construction industry, toolbox talks are vital to promote a culture of prevention in one of the most hazardous sectors in the country and where most work-related accidents have occurred.

“These safety talks are just reminders to employers and workers on ensuring a safe working environment. DOLE and ILO together with our partner agencies and organizations will continue to ensure that young workers know their rights at work, including a right to a safe and healthy workplace,” Labour Secretary Bello concluded.

For further information please contact:

Minette Rimando
Media and Public Information
ILO Country Office for the Philippines
Tel.: +63 2 580 9900 or 580 9905

Katherine Brimon
National Project Coordinator
ILO SafeYouth@Work
Tel.: +63 2 580 9900 or 580 9928