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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Protect workers from heat wave, TUCP urges biz

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The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) on Saturday asked owners of workplaces to intensify precautionary measures to protect the health and well-being of workers from the scorching heat through a Comprehensive Heat Risk Action Plan.

In a statement, the labor center reminded employers as well as owners of workplaces about Labor Advisory 8, Series of 2023 of the Labor Department.

This directs all employers to conduct health risk assessment due to extreme heat, provide better ventilation and adequate water supply, adjust rest breaks, and launch information and education campaigns on what heat stress is, and how to avoid it.

“As heat index across the nation spikes to ‘dangerous’ levels, it is our shared moral responsibility— not only of workers who toil day in and day out not only at work but also in commuting to and from work but also of the Government and most especially employers—to beat the heat together through proactive precautionary and quick response measures,” said TUCP president Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza.

Mendoza is a Deputy Speaker, being the nominee to the House of Representatives of the party-list group TUCP.

In its statement, TUCP called for social dialogue among workers and employers through the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Committee in every workplace, as mandated by Republic Act 1105 or the OSH Law, to prioritize the following measures which should be part and parcel of their Heat Risk Action Plan: (a) Heat Break especially for outdoor workers, during the hottest part of the day, such as around 11 AM to 2 PM, which can be facilitated through flexible work time arrangements. (b) Buddy System as a proactive monitoring system for workers to check on each other’s well-being, supported by the openness and alertness of the Management and especially the workplace safety officer.

(c) Hydration Reminders which should be done regularly to remind workers to drink adequate water even before they feel thirsty.

(d) Heat stress orientation sessions, supplemented by periodic refresher courses or training guides, to educate workers about identifying heat stress symptoms and appropriate responses in line with the Heat Risk Action Plan.

(e) Better ventilation starting from as simple and as basic as opening the windows and adding electric fans, especially in manufacturing and industrial settings.

“This Heat Risk Action Plan is a win-win imperative for both labor and business to ensure that Filipino workers will be safe, productive, and healthy amidst the blistering heat. Together, let us craft and bolster our respective Heat Risk Action Plans to save jobs and save lives,” Mendoza stressed.

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