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DOLE’s webinar on workplace safety and health protocols reach over 7-K viewers online

Cebu City, Philippines. Close to a hundred businessmen in Cebu joined the recently held webinar on the updated workplace safety and health protocols for employees, while reaching over seven (7) thousand viewers at the DOLE-7’s FB page.

The webinar with DOLE Assistant Secretary Ma. Teresita S. Cucueco as the resource person, centered on the Joint Memorandum Circular No. (JMC) No. 20-04, Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Given emphasis was the safety and health of workers in the workplace amidst the pandemic and everyone’s appropriate behavior toward the so-called “new normal.”

DOLE-7 Regional Director Salome O. Siaton appreciated the remarkable response that the stakeholders of the Department demonstrated toward its conduct of the series of webinars.

“This is a very good sign. Despite the limitations that the pandemic has caused us, we still managed to reach out to our customers and stakeholders and I could not thank enough ASEC. Cucueco for heading to our request. We need someone who can very well address the concerns of our partners and discuss the gray areas that might have been befogging the minds of our partners,” she said.

She said the DOLE-7 made sure to invite a resource person whom the people could trust. “Once again, our deep appreciation and gratitude go out to ASEC. Cucueco. With that webinar, I’m confident that our participants are now able to appreciate more of these safety and health guidelines. Communicating and explaining to them our intent and purpose before conducting inspection is way better than out rightly telling them that what they are doing are violations of the law,” she added.

The wearing of face shields has for a time become a hot topic among the business sector and the workers in Cebu and ASEC. Cucueco explained that wearing them, while observing other health protocols such as wearing of face masks, among others, would help ensure up to 95% protection of workers in the workplace.

She emphasized the importance of workers using the correct kind of face shields and went on saying that face shields should cover the entire face and must also cover the sides of the face and chin if possible. Visor-type face shields shall not be allowed, she added.

Under the supplemental guidelines, face shields and masks should always be worn together when interacting with colleagues, clients and/or visitors. Face shields may be removed according to the demands of the work or when the occupational safety and health of the employees so requires. “Workers may take off their face shields the moment those would already obstruct their work,” ASEC. Cucueco clarified.

Observing physical distancing, she said further, would also provide workers with up to 98% protection while wearing face masks and face shields at the same time.

“The DOLE wants to ensure advocating first whatever pronouncement released by the Department to all its stakeholders before conducting any kind of inspection or monitoring. Our partners need to know what to do. They need to know how to go about the new normal in the workplace. They need to know how to promote the safety and health of the workers in each respective workplace. And conducting these webinars is our way of communicating to them and making social dialogue with them alive,” said Director Siaton.

The initiative was part of the series of webinars and dialogues that the DOLE-7 facilitated with various groups and its stakeholders with the one held last Saturday being the latest. Taking center stage was the Cebu business community composed of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce, Inc.; Mandaue City Chamber of Commerce Inc.; Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC); Industry Tripartite Council in Construction (ITC-Construction); Industry Tripartite Council in Wholesale and Retail (ITC-Wholesale and Retail); the Regional Development Council (RDC-7); and the Provincial Board of Cebu Province represented by Board Member Glenn Soco.

Director Siaton thanked Cebu Provincial Board Member Soco for being the prime mover in the creation of an online messaging group, a mechanism, which she said could swiftly connect the DOLE to the rest of the businessmen in Cebu. “It’s definitely an avenue that helps the DOLE address immediately whatever concerns that might have been confronting the business sector in relation to their workers and the pandemic. With it, communicating to them is made a lot easier” she continued.

Covered by the guidelines are private establishments regardless of economic activity, including those located inside special economic zones and other areas under the jurisdiction of the Investment Promotion Agencies.

The supplemental guidelines aim to assist private institutions in developing the minimum health protocols and standards in light of the covid-19 pandemic.

“All our webinars are livestreamed at our FB page – DOLE Region VII. For our customers, who could not be accommodated anymore by the webinar via Zoom, they can always access them at our FB page through live streaming. All recorded videos of the webinars we have conducted have been posted there,” Director Siaton finally said.

 

End//LSenarlo-Taniza

 

For more information on this report, you may contact (032) 234-3317 or tricitydole7@yahoo.com.ph; (032) 266-7424 or cpfodolero7@gmail.com; (035) 226-2778 / (035) 422-9741/ dolenegrosoriental@gmail.com; (035) 480-9244 or dolesiquijor@gmail.com; (038) 501-0277 and (038) 411-0806 or doleboholfo@gmail.com.

 

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2020-09-04
SALOME O. SIATON
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