September 30 – October 1, 2003
Ichikawa Hall, Occupational Safety and Health Center
North Avenue , Diliman, Queaon City
The message of the Congress is strong and clear: Prevention is better than cure and rehabilitation. Prevention must start with the young. Prevention makes good business
Organized by the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the Congress covered a broad range of topics related to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) of young workers. The Congress attracted some 168 practitioners and researchers from the private sector, government agencies and academe 29 resource speakers shared their expertise and experience and presented their findings and insights based on field studies and research.
There was general consensus that greater attention to OSH of young workers was long overdue. Statistics speak for themselves: 57 percent of the Philippine population is below 24 years of age; the age group of young workers (15-24 years) accounts for 20 percent. Young workers have a much higher accident rate than adults; their accidents seem to be more serious and often result in delayed and long-term disabilities. Some 40 percent of all alcohol and drug abusers in the country are workers, mostly in their younger year.
As DOLE Undersecretary Cruz pointed out, “All is not gloom and doom. While facing the harsh facts we can draw on a wide range of experience and initiatives to raise the awareness and practice based on the Occupational Safety and Health Standards of our youth.”
Prevention of work-related injuries, inspection, compensation and development of policies on OSH are attended to by the OSHC, the labor inspectorate in the regions, the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) and the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC). The Philippine Medium-Term Youth Development Plan (PMTYDP) has identified the needs and interventions for the working youth.
Recent field research in occupational safety and health focuses on specific jobs in hotels and restaurants, in the fast-food business, in call centers, in land and sea transportation, in the entertainment industry and on child labor. The findings of these studies provide inputs into legislation, policies and programs for specific sectors, as well as into basic and specialized trainings. A promising training initiative of OSHC and the UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations (UP SOLAIR) is the launching of the ILO/SOLVE program. Addressing the psychosocial problems of the workplace related to stress, abuse of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, violence and STD/HIV, the program is particularly suitable to help young workers at risk.
Representing a broad spectrum of agencies, firms and practitioners, labor, management, NGOs the participants of the First National Youth Congress on Safety and Health commit themselves:
to promote working conditions and working environment conducive to improving the physical, mental and social well-being of all including the young and other vulnerable workers while enhancing productivity and competitiveness;
to increase public awareness on the concerns of young workers in the area of occupational safety and health; and
to work jointly in advocating for the formulation of coherent policies and programs on “Decent Work and OSH for All”.
The OSH management and staff stand ready to give their full technical support to fulfilling these noble commitments through action and concrete results.