DOLE to Campaign Occupational Safety for Young Workers
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) pushed for an engaging interactive resource to educate young workers on occupational safety in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) standards established by the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and various tripartite sectors.
Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III launched the Youth4OSH Communication Platform to the public on July 31, 2019. This acts as an interactive knowledge-sharing platform on the OSH practices introduced by ILO to the youth, the most exposed segment of the Philippine labor force to workplace hazards. The labor agency and ILO designed to teach young workers the importance of occupational safety and health.
“We at DOLE are working full time to reach out to the youth and empower them on concepts of OSH in the hopes of inspiring them to be future advocates and champions of work safety and health. What we need is more creative and friendly-approach in generating the public and youth support in building a preventative safety and health culture,” Lagunzad said.
Teaching Young Workers Occupational Safety
The Youth4OSH Communication Platform aims to familiarize Internet-savvy young workers with a variety of resources like interactive videos and other content as a “preventative strategy of reducing accidents and illnesses among young workers.” Lagunzad says that the ILO’s resource is youth-friendly while expressing hope that it will bring the message of occupational safety to the working youth.
According to Khalid Hassan, the Country Director for ILO-Philippines, 40% of young workers are more susceptible to injuries and illnesses at work than older workers due to lack of awareness of safety and health standards. In the United States, the risk of young workers between the ages of 15 and 24 suffer more from occupational injuries compared to workers aged 25 years and above.
“The fact that these young workers are new to the workplace, they are susceptible to intimidation, harassment and violence in the workplace,” said Hassan during the launch of the SafeYouth@Work report last March 2019.
The Philippines’ workforce consists of individuals aged 15 to 65 and above. The overall total for employed young workers under the 15-24 age group is 14.7 while the 25-34 age group has the highest statistic of 27.5 employed individuals.
Lagunzad says DOLE will continue to conduct and improve their safety orientations and seminars across all workplaces in the Philippines. It will also include visits to different schools and orient students on OSH practices while preparing them for their transition to take part in the Philippines’ labor force.
“With the collaboration with our social partners, we hope to influence more young and future workers to practice safe work procedures and look out for their comrades and families so that we can eventually achieve zero occupational accidents and illnesses,” Lagunzad said.