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381 An investigation of the state of Occupational Safety and Health in the Philippines
  1. Jinky Leilanie Lu
  1. National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila, Philippine

Abstract

Background This study looked into the state of occupational health and safety in the country. Specifically, the objectives were 1) to show the current condition of workers, both local and migrant, in terms of their workplace condition and hazard exposures; and 2) to present occupational diseases and illnesses in various industries and occupational groupings in the Philippines.

Methods The methodology consisted of comprehensive analysis of records and statistics on occupational safety and health, and related variables from various institutions. Data were gathered from reviews of literatures, related research studies, and documentary research at the Occupational Safety and Health Centre. Analysis of data was done through a critical appraisal of the current status of occupational and health safety in the Philippines in terms of occupational diseases, injuries, and accidents, and existing occupational health and safety policies.

Results The study showed occupational hazards and health and safety conditions in various industries, occupational settings, and job groupings such as in the industrial sector, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, fishing, and cement manufacturing. In the industrial sector, particularly, in nine cement plants in the Philippines, workers were noted to be exposed to hazards such as heat, noise and dust. In the electronics sector, about 57 Filipino women were afflicted by Stevens–Johnson Syndrome (SJS) in two electronic factories in Taiwan. Another study of 399 female workers in a semiconductor manufacturing industry reported abnormal health effects of hazard exposure such as abortion, ectopic pregnancy, or stillbirth. In four textile establishments in the Philippines showed high concentration of cotton dust, high level of noise in the weaving areas, and toxic chemicals in bleaching, dyeing, printing and finishing processes. Women in the garment industry were found to be exposed to extreme heat, dust from textile fibres, and ergonomic hazards. In a study conducted in major leather tanneries in the Philippines, results showed that tanneries were unhygienic, damp, with pungent odour, had poor housekeeping, and practiced improper disposal of chemicals. Workers were not given personal protective equipment even when handling toxic chemicals such as sulfuric and formic acids, ammonia, and chromium. In the mines, workers reported of being hit by falling objects, suffocation from chemical fumes, and crushing injuries. The study also looked into small scale and informal industries such as tanning, laundry shops, pyrotechnique manufacturing and the like. Special segments of the labour force including the women workers, child labourers and migrant workers were also covered. In all these sectors and industries, the study showed attendant occupational diseases and injuries arising from occupational hazards.

Conclusions The study tried to show more complete data on occupational health and safety in the Philippines considering that there is insufficient collection of OHS data by concerned government agencies.

  • Occupational safety and health
  • OHS in the Philippines
  • occupational diseases
  • occupational injuries
  • occupational hazards

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