Saturday, May 18, 2024

DOLE: Use flexible work setup to cut heat risks

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AS temperatures rise to dangerous levels with the upcoming summer season, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) urged employers to consider flexible work arrangements (FWA) to reduce the risk of heat stroke among their employees.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma issued the advice after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned last week the soaring heat index nationwide can cause harmful effects to the body such as fatigue, cramps, exhaustion and stroke.

PAGASA noted it was able to register its most recent highest heat index in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, where temperatures reached a blistering 47 degrees Celsius last March 25.

โ€œThe employers and the workers may agree to adopt a flexible work arrangement to limit exposure to extreme heat and strenuous activities, by adjusting the work hours, while maintaining the total number of work hours within the day or the week until such time that the weather condition has improved,โ€ Laguesma said in his Labor Advisory (LA) No. 8 series of 2023.

Aside from FWA, the labor chief also recommended these measures to reduce extreme heat exposure for employees: implementation of effective ventilation and heat insulation in workplaces; adjustment rest breaks or work locations to allow recovery from heat exposure; allowing the use of temperature-appropriate uniforms and personal protective equipment; and providing access to free drinking water in workplaces.

He said companies should also consider establishing procedures and information networks to address heat-related emergencies.

โ€œIn coordination with the Regional Extension Units of the Occupational Safety and Health Center, the DOLE Regional Offices shall provide employers and workers technical assistance in the review and development of appropriate safety and health measures to prevent and control heat stress at the workplace,โ€ Laguesma said.

LA 8, which was signed by Laguesma last Wednesday, will only apply to private sector workers and employers only.

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