As the country transitions to a ‘new normal’, employers need to implement all necessary safety measures to prevent and control the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) at the workplace.
During the virtual member’s general meeting of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Singh Vergeire said standards on how offices or businesses are run need to be revamped to create a healthy workplace environment.
“These changes would include improving ventilation, hygiene stations, and maintaining adequate space should be implemented in the physical work environment. Adjusting alternative work arrangements, provision of (adequate) sick leaves, and health referral mechanisms for the psychosocial aspect. Providing adequate support to the employees
health resources and enterprise community involvement through linkage to local health services,” she said.
Vergeire said all commercial and industrial establishments, project sites, and other places where work is being undertaken indoors have been recommended to maximize natural ventilation through the use of doors, windows, and other openings if possible and safe to do so.
“Maintaining an acceptable and safe indoor air quality through quality and quantity assessment must be done regularly,” she said.
To ensure safety of an establishment and reassure consumers of safety amid the pandemic, Vergeire said the government implemented the safety seal certification program for businesses that comply with the minimum public health standards.
She said the safety seal certification program also encourages the adoption of the StaySafe.PH digital contact tracing application to strengthen the contact tracing initiative of the government, effectively prevent the spread of Covid-19, and safely reopen the
“The more establishments provided with the safety seal, the more confident we are to say that these are places that are safe for the community, that the DOH is working on integrating the safety seal into routine health and safety,” she added.
Vergeire said appropriate interventions need to be implemented to ensure the holistic approach to health for employees.
“For a safer workplace, the necessary administrative and engineering control, along with providing personal protective equipment must be adhered (to) in the workplace,” she said.
Vergeire further said a safe and continuous reopening of establishments and industries are assured through cumulative layers of protection, entitling protecting the employee, their family, the workplace, and the community.
She said Covid-19 guidance in healthy communities standards include ensuring improved access to nutritious food with clean potable water; opening up of public spaces and varying infrastructures that promote active mobility, physical activity, and leisure; safe road use; and clean and sustainable natural and built environments.
“Towards long-term sustainability of our gains, major investments on outdoor/built environments have been proven to be beneficial in reducing transmission of the virus. The Department of Health cascades this through health promotion as local governments are encouraged to invest in the same,” she added.