Safety and Health in the Workplace

A Safe and Healthy Future of Work 2019

Now, more than ever, the need for Companies to take care of their employees is highlighted. No longer do we only take care of employees while they are in the office. Ideally, we now should look at the employee as a whole person, looking at all areas where we can help them be better at – safety and health included. Afterall, employees come to work bringing their entire self and set of experiences that all help contribute to Company goals and overall camaraderie and atmosphere in the office.

Sadly…

Stress, excessively-long working hours and disease, contribute to the deaths of nearly 2.8 million workers every year, while an additional 374 million people get injured or fall ill because of their jobs, the UN labour agency, ILO, said on Thursday. (Read full article here)

– UN News, April 18, 2019

It is not yet too late. Together, we can still do something.

On April 28 (today), The International Labour Organization celebrates “World Day for Safety and Health” to raise awareness of safety in the workplace. Occurring annually since 2003, each year it focuses on a specific area and bases a campaign around the theme. This year, the theme is “A Safe and Healthy Future of Work.”

Changes in working practices, demographics, technology and the environment are creating new occupational safety and health (OSH) concerns, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO). 

Growing challenges include psychosocial risks, work-related stress and non-communicable diseases, notably circulatory and respiratory diseases, and cancers.  (Read full article here)

– ILO News, Geneva, April 18, 2019

As it may seem, some or majority of these can be prevented by healthy practices or a more balanced work-life integration.

The Philippines and Occupational Safety and Health

Occupational Health and Safety, Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippines


The Philippines has placed a prime on Occupational Safety and Health. In fact, if you work for a Company that poses medium to high risk
among its workers (e.g. manufacturing plants, factories, construction related work, with 10-50 headcount) or for a Company with low to high risk (e.g. office work, research or academic setting with headcount of 51 and up), you have an OSH program and Safety Officer/s.

If you do not know yet about these programs or who your OSH Officer/s is/are, please do get in touch with your HR partners or the Health and Safety Manager.

There is a mandatory 8-Hour Safety and Health Seminar that you will attend, which is to be conducted by your Safety Officer. The Safety Officer should have attended the prescribed Basic OSH Training Course for Safety Officers.

These are all (and so much more details) to be found in the Republic Act 11058 DO 198-18. Please click on this link to find out more. I do know that non-compliance results to penalties, so indeed, this is to be taken seriously + the benefits to our employees which is immeasurable and priceless.

What Companies are Doing?

It is a fact that these days, more than the centuries before, because of greater demands to do more and produce more, employees spend more time at work – be it from home but more so those who spend the hours in the office. Regardless where you do work, the bottomline remains – it takes time away from family, it increases stress level and promotes a sedentary lifestyle.

Companies help ease these burdens and reduce the ill-effects by running and sponsoring programs that benefit the employees of today, as well as the future of work. Yes, cost and the need for greater productivity will always be a factor, but it should not be a deterrent to help build a more health and safety conscious work force.

Thankfully, many large organizations now take it to heart and promote big annual celebrations to emphasize its importance. There are also several anchor events and small pocket activities throughout the year to ensure this is alive in their organization. Some even include this in their scorecards.

Does your Company put health and safety at the center of what you do? Tell us more about it.

How can HR contribute?

Here, exactly is where HR can come in.
Whenever employees are involved, it is implicit HR should be a part of it. HR can help develop programs for the employees’ Health and Safety.

In the spirit of building programs for the emloyees and for greater engagement and involvement, HR can form employee committees that focus on Health and Safety.

Often, when we think ‘health’, we think physical health. However, new demographics and new demands also require for us to look at the phychosocial aspect, as what was mentioned above. Thus, ‘health’ now has a broad spectrum that covers physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In face these days, financial health is also a common topic among the younger generation.

Do you have programs for each of these areas? Please do tell us more about it.

These programs should run for the entire year, because we want it to be imbibed by the employees. We want this to form part of their lifestyle for it to be effective, rather than just a one-time big event.

Wellness Programs is a whole blog article all on its own! I’ll write something focused on wellness in the workplace in my future blog posts. Watch out for that. Do write a comment, too, for your suggestions and wellness ideas.

How we celebrated World Safety Day in the Company?

Luckily, current Company, a major player in the oil and energy industry puts prime on Safety, for each and every employee, regardless of your function, level or role in the organization. In line with this, the World Day of Safety is extremely important and is celebrated all around the globe.

This year, it was a joint celebration with our sister organization in the Philippines. A two-hour discussion emphasizing on…you guessed it! Safety for you, for me, for all. In the photos below, you will see employees making this hand gesture – safety for you, for me, for all. It is in no way promoting any political party nor person.

L-R: top - Mark, myself, Tony, Josh (who played a great part in the designs that you see), Mary Grace, Jasmine (both are ladies from my team, I'm a proud Office Mom), JP who is our primary Safety Officer. L-R: bottom - Angelli, Amor, Donna, Jenjo. Everyone in this photo are employee volunteers to the Safety Committee.
L-R: top – Mark, myself, Tony, Josh (who played a great part in the designs that you see), Mary Grace, Jasmine (both are ladies from my team, I’m a proud Office Mom), JP who is our primary Safety Officer. L-R: bottom – Angelli, Amor, Donna, Jenjo. Everyone in this photo are employee volunteers to the Safety Committee.
L-R: Maria Grace L, Mary Grace L, Mary Grace P (no joke, those are their names, we are richly blessed!), Jenjo, Donna, myself, Angelli, Jasmine, Amor (who is between sitting and standing), Tony, Randell and Sam. All are employee volunteers of the Safety Committee.
L-R: Mary Grace, Jenjo, Amor, Donna, Angelli, Mark, Josh, Sam, Tony (standing), Randell. All are employee volunteers of the Safety Committee.

I am taking this opportunity to thank each and every member of the Safety Committee along with our Safety Officer who made this a successful event.

As well as wishing everyone health and safety everywhere you go, wherever (physically, mentally, emotionally, or physically) you may be.

Til next!

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About Emile Therese

Emile Therese is a graduate of the University of Philippines in Diliman with a degree in Psychology. She is happily married. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with one amazing daughter (and hopefully at least one more child). She believes that values and character ought to be taught as early as possible and that these are key to community and nation building. This was also how she and her siblings were brought up by their two awesome parents! She is a Certified HR Professional who advocates employee engagement in its entirety. Emile believes that true employee engagement rests on the pillars of basic human needs and in ensuring that process and leadership basics are in place - the employee engagement imperatives. She hopes to contribute to making this world a better place for all of us now and the next generation. She loves sipping tea, conversations, reading and writing. The latter gave birth to two blogs - Purposeful Parenting Journey (purposefulparentingjourney.com) and Engagement Imperative (engagementimperative.com).

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